Ars, France, Aug 4, 2020 / 03:00 am (CNA).- The patron saint of priests, St. John Vianney, died Aug. 4, 1859. A century later, Pope John XXIII reflected on the life of the saint, and what it means to be a holy priest.

In contemplating the life of St. John Vianney, one immediately thinks of a priest who lived out great penance, and whose “only motives were the love of God and the desire for the salvation of the souls of his neighbors,” John XXIII said.

The saintly pope reflected on the life of Vianney in an encyclical titled Sacerdotii nostri primordia. The encyclical was written in 1959 for the 100th anniversary of Vianney’s death.

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