St. John Neumann gave all he had in fidelity to the Lord and the people in his care
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. John Neumann (January 5, 2019): 1JN 3:11-21; PS 100:1-2,3,4,5; JN 1:43-51
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we salute John Neumann the first American male and the first bishop to be named a saint from this country.
He left what is now the Czech Republic to be a missionary here with a special focus on the needs of immigrants. He served in New York before becoming a Redemptorist and going on to Ohio, Maryland and Virginia. When he was appointed bishop of Philadelphia in 1852, St. John Neumann chose the prayer, “Passion of Christ, strengthen me!” as his motto. He was deeply dedicated to the Holy Eucharist. Bishop Neumann constantly threw himself into his work and with his remarkable organizing ability founded 89 churches and a network of parochial schools within the diocese.
Despite being bishop, he lived a life of simplicity and service to others, especially those in greatest need. He learned several languages so that he could hear confessions of as many of his people as possible. “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers.… The way we came to know love was that he laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:14,16). St. John Neumann died of a heart attack in 1860. His work in promoting Catholic education is still recognized today. He clearly used his God-given talents every day of his life to look after others.
Suggested missionary action: In imitation of St. John Neumann, we can make a special effort to reach out today to someone who is poor, someone who is an immigrant, or someone who simply needs a helping hand.