2019 Sensus Fidelium NFL All Catholic Pro Bowl Team

Many might not know that my brother (now a priest) and I are big Carolina Panther fans.  We grew up in Spartanburg, SC, the training camp of the Panthers, and have never missed watching a game.  So I figured why not make a post, being that it is the Pro Bowl today, on the first annual Sensus Fidelium All-Catholic NFL squad.

With any team you must have an owner and this years S.F. Peter Award for best owner goes to the Steeler’s owner, Dan Roone.  He’s a daily Mass goer and it is said that “if you want to see Mr. Roone then go to daily Mass.”  That is a great line to hear others say about you.

Vice President of football operations:
Tom Coughlin for the Jacksonville Jaguars

CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion

Head Coaches:
We have a couple head coaches out there
1) Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans.  Coach Vrabel also gives lectures at the Catholic Business League events.
2) John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens.  I know his brother, and coach of the Michigan Wolverines Jim Harbaugh, goes to Peru (the same mission trip the FSSP does) to help those in that area.  I assume John may do that too but I am not sure.  If John is reading this my brother is the priest at St Alphonsus’ Shrine in downtown Baltimore.
3) Dan Quinn of the hated Atlanta Falcons.  Okay, okay, maybe the Falcons are not hated by most of the known world but like I said we are Panther fans.  I big rivalry exists between Carolina and Atlanta 🙂

Assistant Coaches:
So the New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl so we will start with their coaches. More on their story here
1) Special Teams coach Joe Judge
2) Defensive Line coach Brendan Daly
3) Wide Receivers’ coach Chad O’Shea

New England Patriots’ special teams coach Joe Judge, defensive line coach Brendan Daly and wide receivers’ coach Chad O’Shea are pictured in undated photos. The Catholic men will coach their AFC championship team against the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Credit: CNS photos/courtesy New England Patriots.)

4) Mark Duffner, the Defensive Coordinator for the (other hated team) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He apparently wanted to be pope as a young man. You can hear an interview on his story here
5) Ben Steele, was the Tight Ends coach for Tampa Bay in 2018.  You can read what he has to say here
Pat Shurmurm now the New York Giants Head Coach.  You can read a story here on him
Eric Sutulovich, Assistant Special Teams Coach, Atlanta Falcons.  Sure he was let go in Feb 2018 but I’m keeping him in the list.
Joe Lombardi, the Quarterbacks Coach with the really hated New Orleans Saints.  Sorry about that blown call.  I would have been upset if that happened to my Panthers.  Hey when is Drew retiring?  Getting tired of him beating us.  Joe is Vince Lombardi’s grandson & you can read more on Joe here & here is a great article on his grandpa, Vince and how Catholicism made the greatest Football coach ever.
9) Jack Del Rio, who may become the next Defensive Coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals.
10) Mike Shula, now the Offensive Coordinator & QB Coach with the NY Giants.  I heard, while he was the Panther’s OC, that he prayed the office and we saw him in the confessional line in Spartanburg often.  He was apparently on EWTN’s Life on the Rock back in 2004 but I could not find the video.



1) Philip Rivers.  The former NC State Wolfpack made news this year with the secular sports talk radio folks when he said how many kids he had.  They were all amazed, sadly.  Here he is doing Life on the Rock on EWTN

2) Kellen Clemens.  Recently retired & finished with the San Diego Chargers backing up Philip Rivers.  In the interview here Kellen speaks of the two of them saying rosaries together, going to mass together (even going to traditional Masses) and growing in the faith.
3) Matt Ryan, of the (did I mention hated before?) Atlanta Falcons.  They had a disappointing season as did Carolina.  Here’s hoping to a better 2019 for you but not better than Cam, of course. Hopefully Matt can check out St Francis de Sales, FSSP parish in Mableton
4) Tom Brady.  Many do not know he is one but, in his words, not exactly a good one.  Here’s a write up on that here.  Say some Ave’s for him (and all of course).
5) Jared Goff of the LA Rams looks like he could be but I’m going off a hunch from going to Catholic school.

Running Backs:
1) Giovani Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals.  He went to St Thomas Aquinas in Florida and here is the Bengal’s former chaplain speaking on things
2) Christian McCaffrey of the greatest team ever, the Carolina Panthers.  Ok I may be exaggerating.  The guy had a phenomenal record breaking year for the cats.  I’ll post his 2018 highlights below.

Offensive Line:
1) Ryan Kalil just retired from the NFL this season after 12 years… all with the beloved Carolina Panthers.  The best center in the game.  Keep Pounding brother!  Here’s an interview he did with “Blessed to Play” with Ron Meyeer
2) Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys.  Here is a write up in the Texas Catholic on Zack.
3 Alejandro Villanueva of the Steelers.  He is their Offensive Tackle.  You can read more on Alejandro here

Tight End:
1) Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers.  Mr Reliable is Olsen.  Sadly he has hurt his foot the last two seasons and he may or may not give it another run in 2019.  He is excellent on and off the field.  He, Luke, and Ryan go to St Matthew’s in Charlotte.
2) Luke Wilson of the Detroit Lions. His patron saint is St Luke, his confirmation saint is St Sebastian (he wears a medal of his) & a medal of St Michael.  Here is a write up on more from Luke.


1) Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke Kuechly.  Charlotte’s favorite adopted son. Here are a few links on him here and his interview with “Blessed to Play”

2) Paul Posluszny of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  A great write up on Paul is found here

1) Prince Amukamara of the NY Giants.  A solid write up here on Prince Free Safety:
1) Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings.

Special Teams

1) Harrison Butker of the KC Chiefs.  My vote is he is the SF MVP, bc he is a fan of the youtube channel so I am biased.  He was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers and they kept Gano over him (I’m slightly bitter about that haha).  Here is a write up on Harrison 2) Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens.  He signs himself before every kick.  Here is a write up on Justin here

3) Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein of the Rams.  Here is his “Blessed to Play” interview

Well there you have it.  If you have any other recommendations or if I left anyone out, feel free to put them in the comment sections below.


10 Basilicas in the Caribbean

1) Basílica Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre (National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity) –  Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

It was built in 1926 in the village of El Cobre about 12 miles west of Santiago de Cuba. It is a 3 aisled church on the hill “Cerro de la Cantera” and is linked to the village by a flight of 254 steps. It has a central bell tower and two side towers crowned by red-brick domes.

Our Lady of Charity also known as Our Lady of El Cobre or Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre or “la Virgen de la Caridad” is a popular Marian title of the Blessed Virgin Mary known in many Catholic countries.

Several known Marian images with the same title exist around the world while a particular Hispanic image is pontifically designated by Pope Benedict XV as the Patroness of Cuba. The present image is enshrined in the National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, built in 1926 and situated in the village El Cobre, near Santiago de Cuba. Pope Pius XI granted a Canonical Coronation for the image on 20 December 1936. The feast day of Our Lady of Charity is September 8; the solemn Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


The history of the La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, began around 1612. The image is thought to have been brought by Spaniard colonists from the town of Illescas, a province in Toledo, Spain where a similar statue of the Virgin Mary of Charity was already well-venerated.

Local legend recalls the Spanish captains who bring with them religious Marian images to guide and protect them from English pirates at sea. Two Native American or Indian brothers, Rodrigo and Juan de Hoyos, and an African slave child, Juan Moreno, set out to the Bay of Nipe for salt.[2] They are traditionally given the moniker the “three Juans”. They needed the salt for the preservation of the meat at the Barajagua slaughter house, which supplied the workers and inhabitants of Santiago del Prado, now known as El Cobre. While out in the bay, a storm arose, rocking their tiny boat violently with incoming waves. Juan, the child, was wearing a medal with the image of the Virgin Mary. The three men began to pray for her protection. Suddenly, the skies cleared, and the storm was gone. In the distance, they saw a strange object floating in the water. They rowed towards it as the waves carried it to them. At first they mistook it for a bird, but quickly saw that it was what seemed to be a statue of a girl. At last they were able to determine that it was a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus on her left arm and a gold cross in her right hand. The statue was fastened to a board with an inscription saying “Yo Soy la Virgen de la Caridad” or “I am the Virgin of Charity.” Much to their surprise, the statue remained completely dry while afloat in the water.

Overjoyed by what they had discovered, they hurried back to Barajagua. They showed the statue to a government official, Don Francisco Sánchez de Moya, who then ordered a small chapel to be built in her honor. One night, Rodrigo went to visit the statue, but discovered that the image was gone. He organized a search party, but had no success in finding Our Lady of Charity. Then, the next morning, she was back on the altar, as if nothing had happened. This was inconceivable as the chapel had been locked. This event happened three times. The people of Barajagua came to the conclusion that she wanted to be in a different spot, so they took her to El Cobre. She was received with much joy in El Cobre, and the church there had its bells ring on her arrival. It was at this point that she became known as “Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre” or “Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre”. Much to the dismay of people in El Cobre, the disappearance of the statue continued to happen.[3]

One day, a young girl named Jabba was playing outside, pursuing butterflies and picking flowers. She went towards the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, where she came across the statue on top of a small hill. There were those who did and those who did not believe the little girl’s testimony, but in the end, the Virgin was taken to the spot of her discovery, where a church was erected for her.[3]

Before the famous image on 19 May 1801, a royal edict from king Charles IV of Spain decreed that Cuban slaves were to be freed from the El Cobre copper mines. The story circulated around the island quickly. Many felt that the Virgin purposely chose to have her sanctuary in El Cobre because it is located in Oriente Province. Later folk legends associated the taking of copper materials to their homes after having it blessed near the Virgin’s sanctified image as a form of souvenir and miraculous healing.

The Cuban statue venerated measures about 16 inches tall; the head is made of baked clay covered with a polished coat of fine white powder. Her feet rest on a brilliant moon, while angels spread their golden wings on a silver cloud. The child Jesus raises his right hand as in a blessing, and in his left hand he holds a golden globe. A popular image of Our Lady of Charity includes a banner above her head with the Latin phrase “Mater Caritatis Fluctibus Maris Ambulavit” (Mother of Charity who walked on the road of stormy seas).[4] Originally, the robes on the image were white in color. Newer robes are embroidered with gold and silver, which includes the national shield of Cuba. Among Cuban religious devotees, the image is given the familiar title of La Cachita.

For more please visit here

2) Basilica of St. Anne, Willemstad, Curacao

functions as Catholic Minor Basilica and at the same time as co-cathedral of the Diocese of Willemstad (Latin: Dioecesis Gulielmopolitana) on the island of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela. The other being the main cathedral dedicated to Our Lady the Queen of the Holy Rosary of the same city.

It was built between 1734 and 1752 in the sector of Otrabanda and received its present status in 1975 by decision of Pope Paul VI. Previously between 1843 and 1958 he held the title of pro-cathedral also granted by the Holy See. Follow the Roman or Latin rite and is one of the world’s smallest churches basilicas

3) Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia – Higüey, Dominican Republic

dedicated to Our Lady of Altagracia, patroness of the nation. It is in Salvaleón de Higüey. The basilica is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia en Higüey.

The cathedral was raised to the honor of a minor basilica by Pope Paul VI on December 17, 1970. It was visited by Pope John Paul II during his visit to the country in 1992.

Among the many reasons that inspired its creation, there is one that stands out. A long time ago a young girl from same city asked her father for a portrait of the Virgin Mary. Her father (name unknown) brought the picture as gift for her. It is believed that the portrait was placed at the house of this girl. For some reason, at the break of dawn of each day, the portrait was always found outside the house, beneath a small tree. Every day this portrait was moved back inside by the girl, until she told her parents about it. The place became sacred, and the basilica was built on that same spot as reference of Mary’s grace.

4) Basílica Catedral Metropolitana Santa María de la Encarnacion – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


The Cathedral of Santo Domingo is the oldest in America, built by mandate of Pope Julius II in 1504. Seat of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, its construction began in 1512, under the pastoral care of the first bishop of Santo Domingo, Fray García Padilla , who never came to the island; on the basis of plans by the architect Alonso de Rodríguez. Once the works stopped, they continued with a new design by Luis de Moya and Rodrigo de Liendo in 1522 with the intervention of Bishop Alejandro Geraldini. The architect Alonso González, inspired by the Cathedral of Seville, partially completed the church in 1540. Subsequently Alonso de Fuenmayor, promoted the works and on August 31 of the year 1541 was consecrated. In 1546 Pope Paul III, raised it to the rank of Metropolitan Cathedral and Primate of America at the request of King Charles I of Spain. Another promotion came in 1920 when Pope Benedict XV elevated it to “Minor Basilica of the Virgin of the Annunciation”. In the second half of the 16th century, on the south side the Claustro sector was built, with the cells of the canonical ones; Another example is found in the Cathedral of Salamanca in Spain. In 1547 the works of the bell tower were interrupted, because its height surpassing the Tower of the Homage, had given disturbances to the sentinels. It was headquarters of the troops of Sir Francis Drake during his invasion of 1586, who sacked it. Apparently in 1665 there was a second consecration. Initially without chapels, in 1740 it had 9 and currently it has 14. The chapels of Alonso de Suazo, Rodrígo, Bastidas, Geraldini and Diego Caballero deserve special mention, as well as the crypt of the Archbishops and the lateral Baptismal chapel . Among the works, the painting of N. S. de la Antigua, donated by the Admiral. The organ was taken to Magdeburg in 1850. 

The architecture of the Santo Domingo Cathedral building is characterized by a Gothic style with ribbed vaults, solid walls and three doors, two of which are Gothic in contrast to the third and main one in Plateresque Gothic style. The cathedral contains a vast artistic treasure consisting of altarpieces, paintings (including a panel of the Virgin of Altagracia, dated in 1523), antique cabinetmaking, furniture, monuments and tombstones, among other objects. The mausoleums of the archbishops of the colonial period stand out, also it is necessary to mention the tombstone of Simón Bolívar, one of the predecessors of the Liberator. In the cathedral the remains of Christopher Columbus were sheltered for a time, and they moved to the Columbus Lighthouse. The valuable archbishop’s throne, plateresque style is dated in 1540. It was part of the low choir, dismantled at the end of the last century to place the marble monument in which the remains of Christopher Columbus were kept.   Tomb of Christopher Columbus before his transfer to the Columbus Lighthouse in 1992. The Cathedral is built with calcareous stone, although some walls are masonry and bricks, and has twelve side chapels, three free ships and a main nave. The roof of the central nave is gabled. Those of the lateral naves are constituted by vaults of crucería that accuse to the outside, as if they were semispherical cupolas. The largest length of the basilica is 54 m in the central nave to the bottom of the presbytery. The width of the three naves is 23 m. The highest floor to ceiling height reaches 16 meters, and the constructed area exceeds 3,000 square meters. Fourteen side chapels were built throughout the history of the cathedral. The environment of the cathedral is formulated in three independent spaces, to the north the Plaza de Armas, the crenellated atrium is like an anteroom that marks the main entrance to the religious complex. To the south the claustra called Plazoleta de los Curas. The annexes around the patio allow a passage called Callejón de Curas.

6) Basse-Terre Cathedral – Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe

French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Guadeloupe de Basse-Terre

After the take-over of the island by the English in 1713, Roman Catholics were forbidden by law to worship in public. They also suffered certain civil and military disabilities. For example, Roman Catholics were required to take and subscribe certain oaths and declarations, such as the declaration against Transubstantiation, before they would quality for civil or military office or for sitting and voting in the island’s legislature. An Act passed in 1829 finally to remove all disabilities. As a consequence, there was a revival of Roman Catholicism.

The steady influx of Portuguese migrants from the island of Madeira from 1835 onwards strengthened the growth of the Roman Catholic community.

7) Basílica Menor de la Virgen de Monserrate – Hormigueros, Puerto Rico

The foundation of the basilica is on the site of a rural chapel built by a Catalan estate owner called Don Gerardo González, who was the owner of the valleys of the region. Although the specific date when the original chapel was constructed is not known, some records date it as far as 1590. Also, radiocarbon dating tests done to pieces of wood from a coffin found in the basilica point to the existence of the chapel as far back as 1570.

The structure combines romantic elements and styles in its architecture, including a bell tower with Mozarabic elements.

In 1696, the chapel acquired a guest house called Casa de Peligrinos (Pilgrims House). In 1814, Juan Alejo de Arizmendi, the first native Puerto Rican bishop, fell ill in this house after traveling around the island in his second pastoral visit. He desired to be buried in his beloved chapel. He died in Arecibo the following October 12, but his wishes were not followed, burial instead taking place in his catedral. The house is now the rectory of the basilica.

The basilica and its rectory were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as the Santuario de la Monserate de Hormigueros and Casa de Peregrinos.

8) Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista – San Juan, Puerto Rico

The cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan, located in Old San Juan, the oldest cathedral in the United States, and is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. Even though the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, is an older church building, the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista was the first cathedral church in the Americas as San Juan, then known as the city of Puerto Rico, was the first diocese of the New World with bishop Don Alonso Manso in 1511.

The original cathedral in what was the city of Puerto Rico (changed to San Juan Bautista in 1521) was constructed from wood in 1521. It was destroyed by a hurricane and the current structure constructed in 1540, being reshaped in later centuries, the last time being in 1917.

The first school in Puerto Rico was the Escuela de gramática (Grammar School). The school was established by Bishop Alonso Manso in 1513, in the area where the cathedral would later be constructed. The school was free of charge and the courses taught were Latin language, literature, history, science, art, philosophy and theology.

The cathedral contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement founder Juan Ponce de León. It also has a shrine to the Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago, the first Puerto Rican, the first Caribbean-born layperson in history to be beatified.

9) Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries – Derek Walcott Square, Castries, Saint Lucia

The cathedral is named after Mary, mother of Jesus, under her title, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

The form “Cathedral”, as it is commonly known, is the largest church in the Caribbean, measuring 200 ft long (61 m) by 100 ft wide (30 m) and was given the honorary status of a Minor Basilica on 11 May 1999 as part of the centenary celebrations.

10) Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception –  Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Construction started in 1816 and it was completed in 1851. The same year the cathedral was given the honorary status of a Minor Basilica.

The first Catholic Church in Port of Spain was built in 1781 by the Spanish governor Martin de Salverria on the site that is now known as Tamarind Square.

The English governor Sir Ralph Woodford decided to build a church better suited to the growing and predominantly Catholic population. Plans were drawn by the governor’s secretary, Phillip Renagle, and the foundation stone was laid on 24 March 1816. The new church was located west of the existing church at the eastern end of what was MARINE Square, one Independence Square.

The building was laid out in the shape of a Latin cross and built of blue metal from the Laventille quarries, with iron framework from England for the doors and windows.

Dr James Buckley, Vicar Apostolic to the Holy See, arrived in Trinidad in March 1820 and the church became a Cathedral. Completed in 1832, the Cathedral would be consecrated in 1849 after all the debts had been paid. In 1851 Pope Pius IX declared that the cathedral was to rank as a Minor Basilica.

On 2 September the twin towers, originally built of stone, were destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in wood as they are today. The towers contain twelve bells and a clock, added in 1879. (Olga J. Mavrogordato)

11 Things of the Knights of Columbus You Should Know

1) The founder is a Venerable of the Church.

Father Michael McGivney was born in Waterbury, Conn., on August 12, 1852. His parents, Patrick and Mary (Lynch) McGivney, had arrived in the great 19th century wave of Irish immigration. Patrick McGivney became a molder in the heat and noxious fumes of a Waterbury brass mill. Mary McGivney gave birth to 13 children, six of whom died in infancy or childhood. Therefore, the first child, Michael, with four living sisters and two brothers, learned early about sorrow and the harsh grip of poverty. Thanks to his parents’ example, he also learned about the powers of love and faith, and family fortitude.

Michael went to the small district schools of Waterbury’s working-class neighborhoods. A good student, he was admired by his school principal for “Excellent deportment and proficiency in his studies.” Then, after the Civil War, when Connecticut’s metals industry was booming, he left school at age 13 to go to work. His job in the spoon-making department of a brass factory provided a few more necessary dollars for family survival.

When Michael reached the age of 16 in 1868, he left the factory. With the priesthood clearly in mind, he traveled with his Waterbury pastor to Quebec, Canada. There he registered at the French-run College of St. Hyacinthe. He worked hard on subjects which would prepare him to apply for seminary admission.

After two academic years at Our Lady of Angels Seminary, which was attached to Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y., young McGivney moved to Montreal, where he attended seminary classes at the Jesuit-run St. Mary’s College.

He was there when his father died in June of 1873. For more see the book “Parish Priest” & trailer for the movie here

2) A Charitable Organization

Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief, actively defending Catholicism in various nations, and promoting Catholic education

3) For Men and Young Men

There are about 2,000,000 members in the world & membership is limited to practicing Catholic men aged 18 or older but there is an official junior organization, the Columbian Squires, which is comprised of at least 10 Catholic young men between the ages of 10 and 18.  For more on the Squires please visit here.

4) Insurance Program

This is the heart of Fr. McGivney’s mission.  The Knights of Columbus insurance story begins in the winter of 1882 in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn. It was there that Fr. Michael J. McGivney, gathered the men of his parish together to create a solution to a recurring problem. Many Catholics — most of whom were immigrants — were working and living in unfavorable conditions. And many, tragically, were dying young, leaving behind widows and orphans with insufficient financial resources. It was a cold reality that had confronted Father McGivney all too often — not only in the lives of his parishioners — but in his own. As a seminarian, he was forced to leave school and return home to aid his family when his father died unexpectedly. Though this story of financial ruin for Catholic families was common, Father McGivney was convinced that there was a way to change the ending. He knew that if the Catholic men in his parish came together in mutual aid, widows and orphans could receive the support they needed. He also knew that if Catholic men banded together, united by charity and unity, they could strengthen their faith, their families, and their communities.

So, he established the Knights of Columbus, and with it, a “pass-the-hat” insurance system to protect the Catholic families in his parish. Over time, that system has evolved, and today we stay true to our founding mission through our multi-billion dollar, top-rated insurance program. Members in the United States and Canada have exclusive access to our insurance program and products, including life insurance, retirement annuities, long-term care insurance, and disability income insurance.

Our charitable giving and fraternal service have continued to grow too. Nearly 2 million men in over a dozen countries across the globe are proud to call themselves Knights. Last year alone, these men and their families donated more than $185 million to charity and performed more than 75 million hours of service. (Source: “Our Story” on the KofC website)

5) Baby Insurance

It is the ONLY insurance company that gives benefits for stillbirth & some even make oak caskets for stillborn and miscarried babies here.

6) Traditional KofC Councils

The “Knights of Columbus Traditional Latin Mass Association” is an informal association of Councils that desire to promote the Mass known as the Usus Antiquior of the Roman Catholic Church, which was the Mass offered by Knights founder, Venerable Servant of God Fr. Michael McGivney. The vision of the Association is to witness the continued increase of the Traditional Liturgy and devotions envisioned in Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter of July 7, 2007 Summorum Pontificum in order to help Knights grow in holiness and draw closer to our founder through the liturgy he offered daily – the Traditional Latin Mass.  For more please visit their website here

7) Yankee Stadium

Opening day, April 19, 1923, Knights of Columbus member Al Smith, the governor of New York (first Catholic candidate for President in 1928), threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the ‘House that Ruth Built.’ To follow that up, Babe Ruth, a Knight himself, christened the new stadium with the first home run in the third inning that day. On top of the Knights being in charge of throwing out the first pitch opening day, they also were the Yankees’ landlord for 20 years. Beginning in 1953, the Knights bought the 9 acres that Yankee Stadium sat on at $2.5 million to create another outlet of fundraising for the Catholic apostolate. By leasing the land for $128,000 per year for 28 years, the Knights were trying to make an investment to aide the future safety of their organization and its charisms. Their charisms were first advocated by Knight’s founder, Fr. McGivney: country, family, and faith. However, after just twenty years of owning the land upon which many Yankee legends were made, the drastic 1974-75 renovation of the Stadium, eventually led to a for sale sign by the Knights.

8) Sports Legends

A few of the sports icons that were Knights:
Lou Albano, Professional wrestler and actor
James J. Braddock, “The Cinderella Man”, former heavyweight boxing champion
James Connolly, first Olympic Gold Medal champion in modern times
Mike Ditka, former Chicago Bears coach
Chris Godfrey, former right guard for the New York Giants and founder of Life Athletes
Ron Guidry, pitcher who helped lead the New York Yankees to a World Series championship
Gil Hodges, Major League baseball player and former manager who led the 1969 New York Mets to an improbable World Series win
Tom Kelly, first baseman and former manager of the Minnesota Twins
Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Green Bay Packers (The Vincent T. Lombardi Council, No. 6552, Knights of Columbus, in Middletown, New Jersey, is named for him.)
Connie Mack, baseball player, manager, and team owner
Bob O’Neil, former NFL Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Titans, CFL Calgary Stampeders, and Montreal Alouettes professional football player
Floyd Patterson, former heavyweight boxing champion
Babe Ruth, baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Boston Braves
Jim Sorgi, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback.
Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox baseball player
Lenny Wilkens, National Basketball Association’s second winningest coach

Not a professional athlete is the great Alan Keyes, political activist, author and former diplomat

9) The KofC Headquarters Building

Why does this matter?  Well remember the Insurance the KofC offers?  Ever see them sponsor the Super Bowl? Championship Games? Anything?  You will see logos for others (Allstate on the Field Goal nets for example) but you will never see the KofC logo in a game?  Why?  The money is to help the people not to make everyone in HQ rich.

The Knights of Columbus Building, in Downtown New Haven, Connecticut, is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic fraternal service organization, the Knights of Columbus. Also known as the Knights of Columbus Tower or The Knights’ Tower, the building was designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates and finished in 1969. This 23-story modern style reinforced concrete building, at 320 feet (98 meters) tall, is the third-tallest building in the city’s skyline. The Knights’ Tower serves as the international headquarters for the Knights of Columbus and is home to the Supreme Council. Led by the Supreme Knight, the Chief Executive Officer of the Knights, the building provides administrative support and leadership for more than 15,000 councils worldwide. The cylindrical towers at the corners give the structure a simple geometric form and represent the four core principles of the Order: Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. (Source – Wikipedia)


New York Life Building – the massive building rises forty stories to its pyramidal gilded roof while occupying the full block between 26th Street, 27th Street, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue South, a rarity in Manhattan. The New York Life Building stands 615 feet (187 m) tall and contains 40 floors. Inspired by Salisbury Cathedral, it was the last significant Gilbert skyscraper in Manhattan.

Prudential Headquarters – the Prudential Plaza, opened in 1960 during the New Newark era when modernist buildings were built downtown. The International style building is one the tallest and most prominent on the Newark skyline. The Gibraltar Building, headquarters for the financial services company until 1986, is situated between two other office towers later built for the firm, all of which are connected by underground passage.

You see my point.  New Haven, Conn is not exactly a metropolitan city.

10) Take Care of Your Family

As in Fr McGivney’s day we still have to take care of our families.  If the father of the household dies and he is the breadwinner for the family then that puts the mother and children in a bind.  Join a council and find an agent to make sure you can help your family financially after you die.  Click here to find an agent new you.

11) La Cristiada

The following are excerpts from Dr Jean Meyer’s book “La Cristiada” which you can obtain a copy here

The Knights of Columbus in Mexico were called by their Spanish name “Caballeros de Colon” and their first Mexican council was created with Guadalupe Council No. 1050 in 1905. By 1923, there were 43 councils in Mexico with some 6,000 “Caballeros.” When the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910, took an anti-clerical turn in 1914, that further stimulated the growth of the Caballeros, whose relations with their U.S. brothers proved to be very important to brining information to the American public about the situation in Mexico from 1925 to 1938.

Twenty of the Ninety priests killed in the Cristiada were Knights of Columbus, and some were killed with the fellow Knights of their council. Some Cristeros were also Knights of Columbus, including General Luis Navarro Origel, who is famously called El Primero Crisero (“The First Cristero”).

Six K of C priests were one of the first to be canonized as saints:

  1. Fr Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman – sacrificed his life to protect the identities of seminarians
  2. Fr Luis Batis Sainz – was put before a firing squad for refusing to submit to the anti-religious laws
  3. Fr Mateo Correa Magallanes – was executed when he refused to break the seal of confession of his fellow inmates.
  4. Fr Miguel de la Mora de la Mora – was shot while saying a rosary for speaking out against anti-religious laws.
  5. Fr Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero – was caught administering the sacraments and was beaten then executed
  6. Fr Jose Maria Robles Hurtado – while preparing to say Mass he was captured and killed the next morning.

The Mexican Knights were a target of the Mexican Government & those who had traveled to the U.S. for the 1926 convention in Philadelphia were barred from returning to Mexico, forcing them to stay in L.A. where many other Mexican refuges would also find a new home. In Mexico, the K of C headquarters was attacked, ransacked, and its records destroyed.   The KofC had to go underground. Being a KofC member was seen as a danger to the State’s agenda & being a Knight had its own dangers. They knew that to be a Knight one must be a practicing catholic so being a Knight was proof of one’s allegiance to the Catholic Church. Walking home one day in January 1927, Yocundo Duran of Chihuahua was spotted by Federal General Valles. Valles had one of his soldiers ask Duran if he was a member of the K of C. Duran confirmed asking if there was any evil in it. Duran was declared a ‘subversive Catholic’ and immediately shot.

After finally getting Washington DC to look at the problem the K of C created the Mexican Fund, a pledge of $1 million collected from members that was to be used for two broad causes: to provide direct aid to refuges, and to educate the U.S. populace about the true situation in Mexico, including the brutality, the despotic politics, and the anti-Catholic ideology that was rampant in Mexico’s government and labor unions.   The Order published and distributed pamphlets, ranging from single-page fact sheets to longer booklets on the Mexican situation. Over 17 different titles were published, with 5 million copies distributed to the public. They even set up public speakers to give informational lectures to diverse, and often large, audiences. On November 25, 1926 the Mexican legislature deliberated at length about the K of C and the Mexican Fund. They ever perused and read from the pages of the “Columbia”, the K of C’s magazine (bc the K of C put information of the Mexican situation in the magazine), which was later barred from being mailed in Mexico.

Rumors by political figures and journalists of the money by U.S. councils to help fund arms for the Mexican K of C were unleashed saying they were desiring to ‘interfere’ with Mexican politics. The attacks upon the Knight’s Mexican Fund came especially from the Kl Klux Klan and its supporters. The KKK was quick to denounce the Knights’ plan and to offer $10 million to the Mexican government in its fight against Papism. The KKK also sent telegrams of congratulations to President Calles, asking him repeatedly for the full annihilation of the Church south of the Rio Grande. The U.S. Senate took notice of the hotly debated Knights’ fund for three hours in January 1927. Led by Senator James Heflin, who contributed to the KKK magazines and lectured around the union to audiences made up largely of KKK members.

(Photo was in protest of the KofC helping refuges enter the United States during the Cristeros War)

And for laughs


10 Basilicas in Canada

There are 24 Basilicas in Canada (the USA has 82) here is just a few of the Basilicas in Canada

1) St. Dunstan’s Basilica –  Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

The Catholic Church of Charlottetown dates back to 1721 when two missionary priests came to minister to the spiritual needs of the early French settlers. A small church was built at Port la Joye, an early French settlement located across the harbour from Charlottetown. This settlement, including the little church, was destroyed during the English invasion in 1758 and the inhabitants were deported to France.

Scottish Settlers
In 1772, religious persecution in Scotland prompted a number of Catholics to seek refuge in the New World. Many settled in Scotchfort, a community about 20 km east of Charlottetown. Father James MacDonald, the young priest who came with them, died in 1785 and is buried in the French cemetery in Scotchfort. Settlers were without a resident priest until Father Angus Bernard MacEachern arrived from Scotland about five years later.

Father MacEachern’s arrival marked a pivotal time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in PEI. At the time, the Maritime Provinces were included in the Diocese of Quebec. The Bishop of Quebec granted Father MacEachern permission to administer to the native Scots in eastern PEI and the Acadians west of Malpeque. Before long, his parish included all of PEI, the Magdalen Islands, Cape Breton Island and the Northumberland Shore of Nova Scotia.

The area was vast and settlements were widespread. To transport his Mass kit and vestments, Father MacEachern crafted a small horse-drawn vessel that navigated small bodies of water and, when fitted with runners, served as a sleigh during the harsh winters. The original vessel, restored in 1949, and his snowshoes are displayed inside the Basilica.

The First Bishop

In 1829, Charlottetown was raised to an Episcopal See, the second English speaking diocese in Canada and the first in the Maritime  Provinces.  Right Reverend Angus Bernard MacEachern became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown.

St. Dunstan’s Chapel

There is only one cathedral, the official church of the bishop, in a diocese. It houses the cathedra or Episcopal chair, the symbol of the bishop’s authority as chief shepherd of the diocese. The primitive wooden church built on this site in 1816 and dedicated to St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury became the cathedral for the Diocese of Charlottetown. It was replaced by a new larger wooden cathedral in 1843.

Stone Cathedral

The cornerstone for the third of four cathedrals, the first built of stone, was laid in 1896. The hard Wallace stone foundation and lintels and softer Miramichi stone walls complemented the 25-year old rectory next door.

Built in the form of a Latin cross with 200-ft twin spires and the finest pipe organ in the province, the new cathedral was a tribute to the growing Diocese of Charlottetown. Alas, on March 7, 1913, just six years after the Cathedral’s dedication, it was destroyed by fire.

Scottish architect J. M. Hunter and contractors James Metcalfe and Company re-constructed the walls of the burned cathedral. Inspired by St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, they procured the finest materials and craftsmanship to fashion an elegant English Gothic interior that far surpassed the original cathedral in magnificence. Bells similar in number and tone to those of St. Patrick’s Cathedral were installed in 1928 but later removed due to structural concerns with the bell tower.

When this fourth cathedral was completed in 1919,  it was the largest and most fire-resistant cathedral in the Maritimes. One decade later, for the 100th anniversary of the Diocese of Charlottetown, the pope honoured the enormous financial sacrifices Islanders made to resurrect this house  of  God  from   its   ashes   by   granting St. Dunstan’s the title of Basilica. Only 20 in Canada bear this honorary title.

St. Dunstan’s Basilica

In  1990,  the  federal   government   designated St. Dunstan’s Basilica a National Historic Site of Canada citing it as one of the most elaborate churches in the Maritimes and a fine example of High Victorian Gothic Revival architecture.

Situated on historic Great George Street near Province House with spires reaching the highest points on the city skyline, it is the most visible landmark of the city.

The parishioners of St. Dunstan’s and residents of the community are proud of the historical and spiritual significance of this Basilica and contribute generously to preserve it.

Following the devastating fire in 1913, Roman Catholics throughout the province and other members of the community donated generously to support the reconstruction. It is as a result of similar generosity today, that parishioners are able to maintain its original grandeur.

If you would like to contribute to the continued restoration of our beautiful Basilica, please visit the parish office in the stone building next door: Mon-Fri, 9:00 am-12:00 noon and 1:00 pm-4:00 pm or contribute online at www.stdunstanspei.com.  We appreciate any financial support and will issue an official tax receipt for all donations received.

The Gothic Art and Architecture

During your tour you may notice:

The French  Gothic exterior design lifts our  gaze heavenward to the 10-ft tall spiral crosses at the top of the spires.

Four carvings at the outside doors depict gospel writers; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each is identified with Gothic script and their creature as described in the Book of Revelations.

The focal point of the interior, the 37-ft-high altar, and 44-ft-long altar screen, houses 23 statues of saints and angels. The German-crafted Rose window, though seemingly petite, spans 14 feet.

Nearly 300 angel representations are presented in stained glass; below Stations of the Cross; on light fixtures; and entwined in gilded bands of foliage adorning the pillars.

Large ceiling bosses depict the message of the church (boat) spreading faith (cross), hope (chalice), and charity (heart) in PEI (provincial emblem) under the patronage of St. Dunstan. Smaller bosses represent five victorious powers of WWI: Shamrock of Ireland; Rose of England; Thistle of Scotland; Fleur-de-lis of France; and Cross of Italy.

(From St Dunstan’s website)

2) Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate – Guelph, Ontario

When John Galt founded Guelph, Ontario on April 23, 1827, he allocated the highest point in the centre of the newly founded town to Roman Catholics as a compliment to his friend, Bishop Alexander Macdonell, who had given him advice in the formation of the Canada Company. A road was also later cleared leading up to the hill and named after the Bishop, called Macdonell Street.

According to the Guelph Public Library archives, Galt wrote the following statement in the deed transferring the land on which the Church of Our Lady would one day stand: “On this hill would one day rise a church to rival St. Peter’s in Rome.”

The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady Immaculate is the third church to stand on this site, high above the streetscape, overlooking the city of Guelph. The first church, a framed wooden church named St. Patrick’s, had been built on the hill by 1835 and was the first structure in Guelph that was painted on both its interior and exterior. It burned to the ground on October 10, 1844.

Construction on St. Bartholomew’s Church began shortly after St. Patrick’s was destroyed. The new building was completed in 1846. The following inscription appeared on the cornerstone of St. Bartholomew’s Church: “To God, the best and greatest. The faithful of Guelph, of the diocese of Toronto have built this new Church, in honour of the blessed Apostle Bartholomew, the first church having been consumed in flames.”

Construction of the new church, based on the Cologne Cathedral, began in 1877 under Irish-Canadian architect Joseph Connolly who had designed many churches in Ireland, England and Ontario, notably St. Peter’s Cathedral in London, Ontario.
Built of local limestone in Gothic Revival style, the Church of Our Lady is considered to be Connolly’s masterpiece. Matthew Bell, a well-known Guelph artisan, was responsible for some of the carvings on the exterior as well as on the interior pillars of the church. He died in 1883 as a result of injuries sustained in a fall while working on the building. In 1888, almost twelve years after construction commenced, the church was dedicated to Our Lady Immaculate. The twin towers, which rise to a height of over 200 feet (61 m), were not completed until November 13, 1926. The completed church stands at the head of MacDonell Street as an imposing view terminus, similarly to another major project by Connolly, St. Mary’s Church in Toronto.
(Source from Wikipedia)

3) St. Mary’s Basilica – Halifax, Nova Scotia

It is the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Halifax and is the largest Catholic church in the Archdiocese. Consecrated on October 19, 1899, it was made a basilica in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. The St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica boasts the tallest granite spire in North America.

The church has been significantly expanded and altered over time. Originally constructed of wood, it was replaced by a stone structure beginning in 1820 inspired (as were many churches of the day) by Saint Martin in the Fields in London. It was expanded to its present size beginning in 1869, according to designs of Patrick Keely who introduced the Gothic Revival facade and spire. Besides the Gothic features, the spire also includes Norman and Germanic design elements.

The facade and spire are notable for being built entirely of granite. All of the stone was locally obtained, except for the three portals which have a jamb shaft of pink Aberdeen granite. The spire has a height of 189 feet (58 m).

The basilica was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1997.

(Source- Wikiepedia)

4) Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral – Montreal, Quebec

Is a minor basilica in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Montreal.

The construction of the cathedral was ordered by Mgr. Ignace Bourget, second bishop of Montreal, to replace the former Saint-Jacques Cathedral which had burned in 1852. His choice to create a scale model of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome was in response to a rivalry with the Sulpician order who had been the feudal seigneurs of Montreal, and with the Anglican Church, both of which favoured the Neo-Gothic style instead. The site also sparked controversy due to its location in the western part of downtown, in a then predominantly English neighbourhood far from the homes of the French-Canadian church-goers.

The first architect, Victor Bourgeau, refused the project after studying St. Peter’s, claiming that it could not be reproduced on a smaller scale. At the time, the Holy See and the Papal States were threatened by the nationalist troops of Victor Emmanuel II, king of Piedmont, who was attempting to assert control over all Italy. The undeterred bishop Bourget replied to these events by sending a total of 507 Canadian Zouaves to defend the Papal territories in Italy, whose names are engraved in gold letters on the marble slabs in the cathedral. Their motto is: “Love God and go your way.” A painting depicting Colonel Athanase de Charette, commander of the Papal Zouaves, was made in 1885 by Lionel Royer. Fr. Joseph Michaud, the chaplain of the Papal Zouave volunteers of Montreal, was sent to Rome to secretly produce a scale model to work from.

Work began in 1875 and the new church was consecrated in 1894 as Saint James Cathedral, after Saint James the Great, the patron of the parish the church served. At the time it was the largest church in Quebec. It was made a minor basilica in 1919 by Pope Benedict XV. It was rededicated in 1955 to Mary, Queen of the World, by Pope Pius XII at the request of cardinal Paul-Émile Léger. (The pope had proclaimed this title for Mary in his 1954 encyclical Ad caeli reginam.)

Between 1955 and 1960, several restoration works have been executed.

On March 28, 2000, the cathedral was designated a National Historic Site of Canada

(Source – Wikipedia)

5) Notre-Dame Basilica – Montreal, Quebec

Built in the Gothic Revival style, the church is highly decorated. The vaults are coloured deep blue and decorated with golden stars, and the rest of the sanctuary is decorated in blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold. It is filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues. Unusual for a church, the stained glass windows along the walls of the sanctuary do not depict biblical scenes, but rather scenes from the religious history of Montreal. It also has a Casavant Frères pipe organ, dated 1891, which comprises four keyboards, 92 stops using electropneumatic action and an adjustable combination system, 7000 individual pipes and a pedal board.

In 1657, the Roman Catholic Sulpician syndicate arrived in Ville-Marie, now known as Montreal; six years later the seigneury of the island was vested in them. They ruled until 1840. The parish they founded was dedicated to the Holy Name of Mary, and the parish church of Notre-Dame was built on the site in 1672.

François Baillairgé, an architect, designed the interior decoration and choir 1785-95; facade & vault decoration, 1818.

The church served as the first cathedral of the Diocese of Montreal from 1821 to 1822.

By 1824 the congregation had completely outgrown the church, and James O’Donnell, an Irish-American Anglican from New York City, was commissioned to design the new building. O’Donnell was a proponent of the Gothic Revival architectural movement, and designed the church as such. He is the only person buried in the church’s crypt. O’Donnell converted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed perhaps due to the realization that he might not be allowed to be buried in his church.

The main construction work took place between 1824 and 1829. The cornerstone was laid at Place d’Armes on September 1, 1824. The sanctuary was finished in 1830, and the first tower in 1841, the second in 1843. On its completion, the church was the largest in North America. It remained the largest in North America for over fifty years. A new pipe organ was built in 1858 by Samuel Russell Warren.

The interior took much longer, and Victor Bourgeau, who also worked on Montreal’s Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, worked on it from 1872 to 1879. Stonemason John Redpath was a major participant in the construction of the Basilica.

Because of the splendour and grand scale of the church, a more intimate chapel, Chapelle du Sacré-Cœur (Chapel of the Sacred Heart), was built behind it, along with some offices and a sacristy. It was completed in 1888. In 1886 Casavant Frères began building a new 32-foot pipe organ at the church, completing it in 1891. It was notably the first organ with adjustable-combination pedals to be operated by electricity.

(Source – Wikipedia)

6) St. Patrick’s Basilica – Montreal, Quebec

The church is known for its historic links to the Irish Canadian community. St. Patrick’s celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1997. English-speaking Catholics first assembled in Montreal at the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours church in Old Montreal; however, their numbers were swelled by the massive arrival of Irish immigrants around 1817. Initially they were transferred to the Church of the Recollets (the French Franciscans) in 1825, but by 1841 they numbered 6,500, and could no longer be accommodated.

The site of Saint Patrick’s Church was purchased, and construction began in September 1843. What was then the outskirts of the town, on a sloped site overlooking parishioners’ homes in Point St. Charles, Goose Village and Griffintown, Saint Patrick’s seven cornerstones were laid, making it the oldest English-speaking Roman Catholic Church in Montreal. The first mass was celebrated in the church on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1847, and in 1850 Samuel Russell Warren built the church’s first organ. Adélard Joseph Boucher was the organist from 1853–58, Joseph-A. Fowler followed (1868–1908) and was briefly preceded by Benoît Poirier.

(Source – Wikipedia)

7) Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec

“Our Lady of Quebec City”, located at 16, rue de Buade, Quebec City, Quebec, is the primatial church of Canada and the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec, the oldest in the Americas north of the Spanish colonies in Florida and New Mexico.  It is also the parish church of the oldest North American parish north of Mexico and was the first north of Mexico to be elevated to the rank of minor basilica, by Pope Pius IX in 1874.

Located on this site since 1647, the cathedral has twice been destroyed by fire throughout the centuries.

A previous iteration of the church was destroyed during the Siege of Quebec in 1759. It was rebuilt from plans by Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry draughted in 1743. The belltower, however, was designed by Jean Baillairgé, who also oversaw construction. The interior was designed by Jean Baillairgé and his son François from 1786–1822. In 1843, François’ son, Thomas, suggested a reconstruction of the façade to resemble the church of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, resulting in the finest Neo-classic façade in Québec. The cathedral was richly decorated with impressive works of art: baldaquin, canopy, episcopal throne dais, stained glass windows, paintings, and chancel lamp (a gift of Louis XIV).

In 1922 the church was again gutted by fire, this time by the Canadian fraction of the Ku Klux Klan, and restored by architects Maxime Roisin and Raoul Chenevert. Raoul Chenevert added a presbytery beside the Cathedral in 1931-32

In 2014 the cathedral celebrated its 350th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, a holy door was constructed—the second outside Europe and only the eighth in the world. The holy door was opened on December 8, 2013 and remained open until December 28, 2014. It again opened from December 8th, 2015 to November 20th, 2016 for the Year of Mercy after which it was sealed until 2025

(Source – Wikipedia)

8) Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré – Quebec, Canada

A basilica set along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Quebec City, and one of the five national shrines of Canada. It has been credited by the Catholic Church with many miracles of curing the sick and disabled. It is an important Catholic sanctuary, which receives about a half-million pilgrims each year. Pillars in the front entrance are covered in crutches from people who are said by the parishioners to have been miraculously cured and saved.

The basilica in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré was initially a shrine to honour Saint Anne. On March 8, 1658, settler Etienne de Lessard donated two frontal acres from the west end of his property to the Catholic Church, so that a chapel could be built. This chapel eventually became the site of the modern-day basilica. The chapel was built to provide a place of worship for the new settlers in the area and to house a miraculous statue of St. Anne. The first reported miracle at the site happened during the shrine’s construction. A man named Louis Guimond was hired to help build the shrine even though he suffered from rheumatism. After placing three stones upon the shrine’s foundation, Guimond was cured of all his ailments. This was followed by other testimonies of healed people, and the shrine soon grew in popularity. Many pilgrims came to the shrine hoping to receive a miracle while others, like Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII and Queen of France, supported the shrine from a distance.

Because of the popularity of the shrine, the building was enlarged several times to accommodate all the pilgrims. In the late nineteenth century, a basilica was constructed around the shrine. In 1876, the first basilica opened for worship. This was destroyed in a fire on March 29, 1922. The present-day basilica was built in 1926 on the site of the prior church.

Architects Maxime Roisin, Louis N. Audet and Joseph-Égilde-Césaire Daoust collaborated on the project from 1923-1931. After the end of the Great Depression, work on the interior resumed in 1937, and was finally completed in 1946.

Pilgrims are attracted from across Canada and the United States. Miracles are still believed to occur at the basilica. Two pillars near the entrance are filled with racks of crutches, canes, braces, and other signs of disabilities. Each item has been left by a pilgrim who reports being healed at the basilica.

(Source – Wikipedia)

9) Basilica of St. John the Baptist –  St. John’s, Newfoundland

The Basilica-Cathedral was the largest building project to its date in Newfoundland history. Construction lasted from the excavation of the ground in May 1839, through the laying of the cornerstone in May 1841, until the completion and consecration on September 9, 1855. At this time, it was the largest church building in North America and remains the second largest in Canada behind Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.

Built between 1839–1855, the basilica is located on the highest ridge overlooking the city of St. John’s. The church is not oriented on the liturgically correct east-west axis, but faces toward the narrows that form the entrance to St. John’s harbour.

The Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is built in the form of a Latin cross and in the Lombard Romanesque style of a Roman basilica. It was designed for Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming by the German architect Ole Joergen Schmidt, though Fleming also seems to have had plans prepared by the distinguished Irish architect John Philpot Jones of Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, and also consulted with James Murphy, a native of Dublin, Ireland on the final plans for the cathedral. Construction was initially supervised by the Waterford contractor Michael McGrath, but later superintended by stonemason and sculptor James Purcell of Cork, Ireland, who also designed and built a small wooden church, Christchurch, for the community of Quidi Vidi near St. John’s.

Construction took place under the watchful eye of the Irish-born Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming, the Vicar-Apostolic and first Bishop of Newfoundland and later under the eye of his successor, Bishop John Mullock. The Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is unusual among North America’s 19th century public buildings in that it was constructed using limestone and granite imported from Galway and Dublin, Ireland, as well as 400,000 bricks from Hamburg, as well as local sandstone quarried from St. John’s and Kelly’s Island in Conception Bay, giving the Cathedral its characteristic grey colour. During its centenary celebration in 1955, Pope Pius XII raised the cathedral to the rank of minor Basilica.

The St. John’s Basilica-Cathedral was contemporary with and part of the great boom in church construction which surrounded the era of Daniel O’Connell and Catholic emancipation in Ireland and Newfoundland. For its day, the St. John’s Basilica was the largest Irish cathedral anywhere outside Ireland. No other Irish building in North America can boast of such intimate influences from or upon Ireland, and no other building had such an international reputation in its day.

The Basilica was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1983, to recognize its architectural uniqueness as one of the earliest North American examples of the Romanesque revival style, and its central role as the spiritual and cultural home of Newfoundland Roman Catholics

(Source- Wikipedia)

10) Notre-Dame-du-Cap Basilica – Trois-Rivières, Quebec

It is the Canada’s national shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary and attracts thousands of pilgrims each year.

The first church in the district of Cap-de-la-Madeleine was a small wooden structure built in 1659. In 1694, the first resident pastor, Father Paul Vachon, established the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary at Cap de la Madeleine. The wooden building was replaced by a fieldstone church in 1720. The hand hewn beams from the wooden church were used in the construction of the new stone church. Canon Vachon died in 1729 and is buried in the church.

For a long time the parish was without a resident pastor and fell into neglect. In 1867, Father Luc Desilets, pastor at Cap-de-la-Madeleine, re-introduced the praying of the rosary and promoted it among his parishioners. A more regular pastoral presence resulted in increased attendance, and a larger church was needed.

Initially, construction of a new church was hampered by the difficulty of transporting material. However, in mid-March 1879, despite it being an unusually mild winter, a small section of the St. Lawrence River froze sufficiently that, by adding additional snow and water, Father Louis-Eugene Duguay, and some parishioners were able to construct a narrow mile-and- a-half long ice bridge. The ice held for a full week and allowed the building material to be hauled across on horse-drawn sledges. The people attributed their success to the intercession of the Blessed Mother. In October 1880 the finished third church was dedicated to Sainte-Marie-Madeleine.

True to a promise made to the Blessed Virgin, instead of demolishing the old stone church, Desilets dedicated it to Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. The first pilgrimage to the Sanctuary was made on May 7, 1883. Desilets died shortly thereafter, and Duguay became pastor. Janssoone took over the responsibility of managing the shrine, and installed a Way of the Cross. Bronze statues depicted the stations. As the parish work and number of pilgrims increased, they asked the bishop to appoint a custodian to take over the shrine. In 1902, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate became guardians of the Shrine. Beginning in 1906, they installed a Way of the Rosary. The path leads to a series of bronze statues, cast in France, each representing one of the fifteen traditional mysteries of the rosary.

In October 1904, Pope Pius X authorized the canonical coronation of Our Lady of the Cape. In 1964, the present basilica was inaugurated, and the sanctuary officially became a minor basilica. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate continue to operate the shrine.

(Source- Wikipedia)

Our Lady of Prompt Succor (8 January)

French Ursulines arrived in New Orleans in 1727 and established the oldest school for girls currently operating in what is now the United States. During a per iod of crisis after a large group of nuns left New Orleans for Cuba in 1803, Mother St. Andre Madier, one of the seven nuns who remained, appealed to her cousin, an Ursuline in France whom the reign of terror had forced to leave her monastery at Pont-Saint-Espirt. She was Mother St. Michel Gensoul, a remarkable woman of great talent and interior piety, who, during the exile in Montpellier, opened a boarding school for girls there. Fearing for the flourishing school, Bishop Fournier refused to request her leave, saying that only the Pope, then a prisoner of Napoleon, could give such a permission. One day while praying before a statue of the Blessed Mother, she was inspired to say, “O most holy Virgin Mary, if you obtain a prompt and favorable answer to my letter, I promise to have you honored in New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.” The situation was near impossible. But this did not discourage Agathe, who immediately wrote a letter to Pope Pius VII, but after three months, she was still without means to send it.

She not only found a way to send the letter a few days later, but the Pontiff replied within a month! He granted his permission, blessing her new undertaking, which surprised the bishop who asked to bless the statue that Mother St. Michel had carved to take with her to New Orleans.

Since the end of  December 1810, when Mother St. Michel, her companions and the statue arrived in New Orleans, devotion to Our Lady of Prompt Succor has grown in New Orleans and Louisiana, and has spread through the United States and even beyond. In the late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII granted the solemn crowning of the statue, an honor carried out splendidly by Archbishop Janssens on November 10, 1895. In 1912 this devotion was officially approved by Rome.
From conversations, letters, contributions, requests for Masses of thanksgiving and similar sources, generations of Ursulines and friends of Our Lady of Prompt Succor have learned about many of the favors granted through the intercession of  Our Lady in response to pleas for quick and favorable help. We will never know them all. But those we know are a source of encouragement and hope to all who count on Our Lady’s help.
Among them, two interventions of Our Lady in particular come from early New Orleans as important to the city and its people. The first has to do with one of the great fires which periodically threatened the city, the Ursuline Convent included. Frightened residents joined the sisters in the convent chapel, begging Our Lady to save them and their homes from the raging wind and flames. Finally, as the blaze drew too near, the Superior ordered all to evacuate the building. Before leaving, one of the sisters put a small statue of Mary with her Son into a window facing the approaching fire, with the prayer “Our Lady, unless you hasten to save us we are lost!” Then she followed the others to safety. Within minutes, the wind turned back on itself, and in a short time, the fire had lost its momentum and burned out, leaving the remainder of the city unharmed.
The second well-known intervention of Our Lady of Prompt Succor concerns the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. During the night of January 7, Andrew Jackson and his relatively small, little-prepared and ill-equipped band of soldiers organized their defenses against the large, very well equipped British army which would attack the city before dawn. At the same time, many citizens not directly involved in the army joined the Ursuline Sisters in an all-night vigil in their chapel on Chartres Street, imploring Our Lady of Prompt Succor to give the victory to Jackson for the United States, saving the city of New Orleans from British control. During the night, the Superior, Mother Ste. Marie Olivier de Vezin, promised Our Lady that if Jackson and his men won, a Mass of thanksgiving would be sung every year in memory of her saving help to the city on that day. As dawn was breaking, Fr. DuBourg began a Mass for the same intention. At the very moment of Communion a courier rushed into the chapel announcing that Andrew Jackson and his men had won the victory, and the Mass ended with the joyous singing of the Te Deum.
(The photograph above depicts the statue after her coronation and the Battle of New Orleans. The Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on January 8. Below: the statue in her current home at the National Shrine of Our Layd of Promt Succor on State Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.)
Mary’s help has been sought from the shrine ever since, both in time of war [the Battle of New Orleans] and during the threat of hurricanes, a persistent peril on the Gulf Coast.
The internet address for one of the shrines in New Orleans is: The URL for the convent shrine was inactive at the time this page was uploaded, that is the one provided by our resource was no longer on line.


There is a slightly different version of the Our Lady of Prompt Succor which adorns various chapels: Our Lady’s crown is more elaborate and she wears the traditional white and blue gown. The image on the left is the one most seen in the United States and is thought to be the oldest image of Our Lady in the United States. If you would like a replica of this gold-tone one:

The Rosary House does not carry this statue but can order it.

Rosary House Inc.
P.O. Box 9668
New Iberia, Louisiana 70562-9668
[email protected]

Litany of Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Mother of the Infant Jesus, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of all who invoke you with confidence, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of all who are devout toward the Infant Jesus, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for obtaining a lively faith, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for sustaining the hope of Christians, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for obtaining and persevering in charity, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for observing the law of God, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for observing perseverance in virtue and good works, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every spiritual necessity, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the revolt of self-will, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor in the occasion of sin, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every temptation, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the evil spirit, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for obtaining contrition, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of those wishing to re-enter the path of salvation, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for the conversion of sinners, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every temporal necessity, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every affliction, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of afflicted families, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of the sick and the poor, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against contagious diseases and epidemics, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor in every accident, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against destruction by fire, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against lightning and tempest, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against destruction by flood, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of travelers, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of navigators, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of the shipwrecked, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the enemies of our country, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor in time of war, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of those aspiring to the holy priesthood and the religious life, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of laborers in the Lord’s vineyard, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of missionaries who spread the faith, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor of our Holy Father the Pope, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for those searching for the faith, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor against the enemies of the Church, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor at the hour of death, pray for us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor for the deliverance of the Souls in Purgatory, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V: Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us.
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.O Almighty and Eternal God, Who sees us surrounded by so many dangers and miseries, grant in Thine infinite goodness that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Divine Son, may defend us from the evil spirit and protect us against all adversities, that always and with prompt succor she may deliver us from every evil of soul and body, and safely guide us to the kingdom of Heaven, through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Traditional Nine Day Novena

Short Novena

    O Almighty and Eternal God, seeing us surrounded by so many dangers and miseries, grant in Thy infinite goodness that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Divine Son, may defend us from the evil spirit, protect us from all adversities, obtain for us mention your request here and safely guide us to the kingdom of Heaven. This we ask of Thee through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, forever. Amen.

O Mary, Mother of God, amid the tribulations of the world, watch over the people of God and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life you may be our succor. Obtain for us mention your request here Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, thy Son, our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

    Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (Three times.)

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be

Longer Novena

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, thou art after Jesus our only hope. O Most Holy Virgin, whose merits have raised thee high above angel choirs to the very throne of the Eternal and whose foot crushed the head of the infernal serpent, thou art strong against the enemies of our salvation. O Mother of God, thou art our Mediatrix most kind and loving. Hasten, then, to our help, and as thou didst once save thy beloved City from ravaging flames and our Country from an alien foe, do now have pity on our misery, and obtain for us the graces we beg of thee. Deliver us from the wiles of Satan, assist us in the many trials which beset our path in this valley of tears, and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death. Amen.

      • Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (Three times.)

Say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be then the Litany of Our Lady of Prompt Succor [below] after the prayer “O Mary, Mother of God”.

O Mary, Mother of God, who amid the tribulations of the world, watches over us and over the Church of thy Son, be to us and to the Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor; make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life thou may be our succor, and obtain for us mention your request here Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

10 Basilicas in the United States of America

1) Basilica of St. Lawrence – Asheville, NC

The Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence the Deacon & Martyr is a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, United States. The church was designed and built in 1905 by Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino along with his fellow architect R. S. Smith and the Roman Catholic community of Asheville. Pope John Paul II elevated the status of the church to minor basilica in 1993. It is a parish church, located within the Diocese of Charlotte. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only basilica in western North Carolina. Its dome has a span of 58 by 82 feet (18 by 25 m) and is reputed to be the largest, freestanding, elliptical dome in North America. Except for the foundation and brick walls, the architectural style is Catalan, with the main example being the stairs behind the altar. It is located in the Downtown Asheville Historic District.

2) Saint Anthony Cathedral Basilica – Beaumont, TX

St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica’s roots go back to 1853 when the Catholic Church sent priests on horseback to minister to the settlers around the port of Beaumont. In 1879, Bishop Jean-Marie Odin, C.M., first bishop of the Diocese of Galveston and Fr. Vital Quinon build St. Louis Church and established the first formal Catholic parish community in Beaumont. St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica is the direct successor to this small limited seating structure and parish community. In 1901, following the Lucas Oil Boom, Bishop Nicolaus Gallagher, third bishop of Galveston and Fr. William Lee built a new and larger church to take the place of the St. Louis parish church. Bishop Gallagher changed the name of St. Louis parish community to St. Anthony. The cornerstone of St. Anthony Church was blessed in 1903. In 1907 Bishop Gallagher dedicated the new brick church.

3) Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – Boston, MA

In May 1869, Rev. James A. Healy, pastor of St. James’s Church in Boston, invited the Redemptorists to give a parish mission. Pleased with the success of the mission, Father Healy recommended to the Bishop that the religious order should establish a mission-house in Boston. That year Archbishop John J. Williams invited the Redemptorists to Boston. In September 1869 the Redemptorists acquired a site in Roxbury, then known as the Boston Highlands, on Parker Hill. Parker Hill was named for wealthy Boston merchant, John Parker, who occupied the summit of the hill during the eighteenth century. The five acre estate was known as Brinley Place, and included a grand house, Datchet House built in 1723 by prominent English officer Colonel Francis Brinley in memory of his ancestral home.  Colonel Brinley died in 1765. Wealthy merchant Robert Pierpont purchased the house in 1773. Pierpont enlarged and enriched the house to such a degree that it became known as “Pierpont’s Castle”.

The Redemptorists built a modest wooden church on the location in 1870. This was to serve as a “mission house”, a home base for priests traveling to distant parts of Massachusetts, Canada, and elsewhere. The church was dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The first mass was said on January 29, 1871. The original structure was located on the site where the rectory now stands.

4) Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, Chicago, IL

Founded in 1874, it has been administered by the Servite fathers for its entire history. Ground was broken for the current building on June 17, 1890 and the church was dedicated on January 5, 1902. The Parish served an Irish and Italian congregation for many years. The sorrowful mother novena was a major devotion at the parish during the first half of the 20th century, drawing worshippers from across the country and reaching many more listeners by radio. The church also houses the National Shrine of St. Peregrine, the patron of those suffering from cancer. In the 1960s and 1970s the parish became predominantly African-American.  The Basilica was used for a brief scene in the 1987 film The Untouchables in which Sean Connery’s character explains “The Chicago Way” to Kevin Costner’s character.


5) Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption – Covington, KY

Construction of the cathedral began under the Diocese of Covington’s third bishop, Camillus Paul Maes, in 1895 to replace an 1834 frame church that was inadequate for the growing congregation. Pope Pius XII elevated the cathedral to the rank of minor basilica December 8, 1953.

View of the window, said to be the world’s largest handmade stained glass window in a church

6) Basilica of St. Francis Xavier – Dyersville, IA

The church was named in honor of the missionary Saint Francis Xavier. It was raised to the status of a Minor Basilica in 1956. The church and rectory were listed together on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Dyersville was originally settled by English immigrants. Within a few years the English moved on, and many German immigrants began to arrive in the area. A parish was founded to serve these immigrants in 1859. The first St. Francis Xavier Church was completed in 1862. The parish grew quickly and the church had to be doubled in size by 1869. By 1880, it became clear that with the increasing Catholic population of Dyersville and the surrounding area, the old church building would no longer be adequate.

A new church building program was begun in the mid-1880s. The parish decided on a large Gothic Revival style building in order to serve the increased population. Dubuque architects Fridolin Heer, Sr. and his son Fridolin Heer, Jr. designed the church. The priest at the time, Anton Kortenkamp (1834-1889), also had the foresight to have the altar placed upon a foundation of solid rock, which is one of the requirements for an altar to be consecrated. Construction was begun in 1887, and the cornerstone was laid on June 3, 1888. The new church was dedicated by Bishop John Hennessy on December 3, 1889. When the building was dedicated, special trains brought people from all over the state of Iowa to witness the ceremony. It cost approximately $100,000 dollars to build the church. After the completion of the present building, the old church was converted into classrooms. It was later torn down after a new school was completed. Electric lights were added to the church in 1904.

The interior of the church is decorated with a number of paintings and frescoes. Much of this work was done by Milwaukee artists Alphonse Brielmaier and his sister Lottie from 1904 to 1905. Work to either touch-up the original frescoes or to partially cover some of them was done in 1930 and 1955.

The rectory was built to the west of the church in 1935. The 68-by-66-foot (21 by 20 m) brick residence contains 14 rooms.[3] The rooms are a combination of private living space and offices. A. J. Osterhaus Construction of Dyersville was the contractor who built the rectory. A garage and a passageway connects it to the Basilica.

7) Basilica of the Immaculate Conception – Jacksonville, FL

A parish church in the Diocese of St. Augustine, it represents Jacksonville’s oldest Catholic congregation. The current building, dating to 1910, was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1992 as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and was named a minor basilica in 2013. It is located at 121 East Duval Street; its current pastor is Very Reverend Blair Gaynes.

The congregation was established in about 1845 as a mission of the Catholic parish of Savannah in Georgia, and the first church building was constructed by 1847. Immaculate Conception was designated its own parish in 1854, but the original building was destroyed by Union forces during the American Civil War. A second building was planned shortly after Jacksonville became part of the newly created Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine in 1870, and was completed in 1874. This was destroyed along with most of downtown Jacksonville in the Great Fire of 1901.

The current building was designed in 1905 by architect M. H. Hubbard, also the designer of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church. Construction began in 1907 and completed on December 8, 1910, when the building was dedicated. The structure is an example of Late Gothic Revival architecture, considered one of the best such examples in Florida, featuring a cruciform floor plan, pointed arches, tracery on the windows, buttresses and pinnacles, high spires, and a high vault on the interior. The building’s 178.5-foot (54.4 m) steeple, topped by a gold-plated cross, was the highest point in the city for three years until the Heard National Bank Building was finished in 1913

8) Our Lady of Victory Basilica – Lackawanna, New York

In 1916, fire seriously damaged St. Patrick’s Parish Church in Lackawanna, New York. Repairs were made, but Father Baker, superintendent priest of the busy parish developed plans to replace the church. On May 7, 1921, Father Baker celebrated the last Mass at St. Patrick’s.

The structure was immediately dismantled to make way for something larger. Construction on the Basilica began in 1921 after Father Baker unveiled plans at a parish council meeting to build a shrine in homage to the Blessed Mother. Because of Baker’s influence in the community and well-known charitable reputation across the nation, he was able to get sufficient financial support to begin construction quickly. Baker solicited support for his project, and thousands from across the nation contributed funding both large and small, mostly through a direct-mail fundraising club. Designed by Emile Ulrich, the basilica was constructed at a cost of $3.2 million, but the project was completed without the parish incurring any debt.

By late 1925, construction on the sanctuary of Our Lady of Victory was complete, and the first mass was held there on Christmas of that year. On May 25, 1926, a consecration ceremony took place presided over by Father Baker, Bishop William Turner of the Diocese of Buffalo, and Cardinal Patrick Hayes. Thousands of priests, nuns, and believers from across the nation attended the event. Two months later, Pope Pius XI designated the shrine the honorable title of “Minor Basilica” via an apostolic decree. Baker was in charge of the Basilica and the parish’s various institutions of charity until his death on July 29, 1936.

The Basilica has had only two significant changes to its original design. The first came in 1941 during a violent lightning storm that caused significant damage to the basilica’s twin towers (a style associated with Portuguese churches).

9) Basilica of St. Josaphat – of Milwaukee, WI

In its grandeur and opulence it is an excellent example of the so-called Polish Cathedral style of church architecture found in the Great Lakes region of North America. Modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

St. Josaphat’s congregation was founded in 1888 by immigrant Poles on Milwaukee’s (then) far south side. In 1896, when the parish church proved to be too small, Pastor Wilhelm Grutza commissioned a prominent church architect of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Erhard Brielmaier. Like a number of other Polish churches in the so-called Polish Cathedral style, such as St. Mary of the Angels in Chicago or Immaculate Heart of Mary in Pittsburgh, the architectural plans for the new edifice were intentionally modeled on St. Peter’s Basilica.

As the design neared completion, Father Grutza learned that the U.S. Post Office and Customs House in Chicago was being razed. He purchased the 200,000 tons of salvage material for $20,000 and had it delivered to Milwaukee on 500 railroad flatcars, where parishioners were waiting to begin construction.

The Basilica was formally dedicated in 1901 by Archbishop Francis Xavier Katzer with 4,000 people in attendance. Once completed, it met the requirements of Milwaukee’s growing Polish Catholic population by seating 2,400 members and was the city’s largest church. Artist Tadeusz Żukotyński painted the first painting in the church, The Martyrdom of St. Josaphat, in 1904.

Decoration on the interior was completed in 1926 by artists Conrad Schmitt and Gonippo Raggi. Detailed oil paintings depicting biblical scenes adorned the walls and inner dome, while ornamental plasterwork finished in gold leaf set the columns, and ornate stained glass covered the windows.

In 1929, Pope Pius XI designated St. Josaphat Church as the third minor basilica in the United States, marking it as a place of pilgrimage, special devotion, and historical significance.

10) Basilica of the Immaculate Conception – Waterbury, Connecticut

The parish traces its roots to November 1, 1847 when a group of Catholics in the area, under the leadership of pastor Father Michael O’Neil, purchased a former Episcopal church and dedicated the parish to St. Peter. The group previously rented Washington Hall at West Main Street and Exchange Place.

On July 5, 1857, the parish laid the cornerstone for a new church to be dedicated to the newly promulgated dogma of the Immaculate Conception. After it opened, the old church became St. Mary’s school in 1863.

Ground was broken for the current church in 1924 and it was dedicated May 20, 1928. It was designed by the Boston firm of Maginnis & Walsh and cost US$1.25 million to construct. Its Italian Renaissance design is based on the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

On February 9, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the title of Minor Basilica on the church


Thanks to Wikipedia for the info

The Infant Jesus of Prague (Feast Day 14 January)


Devotion to the Infant of Jesus of Prague is devotion to the Child Jesus. It is veneration of the Son of God, who in the form of an infant chose a stable for a palace, a manger for a cradle, and shepherds for worshippers. Our Savior grants special graces to all who venerate His sacred Infancy.

The image of the Child Jesus known as the “Infant Jesus of Prague” was in reality of Spanish origin. In the 17th century, this beautiful statue was brought by a Spanish princess to Bohemia and presented to a Carmelite monastery. For many years this statue has been enshrined on a side altar in the Church of Our Lady of Victory in the city of Prague. It is of wax, and is about nineteen inches high. It is clothed in a royal mantle, and has a beautiful jeweled crown on its head. Its right hand is raised in blessing; its left holds a globe signifying sovereignty.

So many graces have been received by those who invoke the Divine Child before the original statue that it has been called “The Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague.” We read the following in an old book printed in Kempt: “All who approach the miraculous statue and pray there with confidence receive assistance in danger, consolation in sorrows, aid in poverty, comfort in anxiety, light in spiritual darkness, streams of grace in dryness of soul, health in sickness, and hope in despair.”

In thanksgiving for the numerous graces and cures received, the miraculous statue at Prague was solemnly crowned on the Sunday after Easter, in 1665.

What is said of the original statue may be applied also to the images of the “Little King” which are venerated all over the world. From small beginnings, this devotion has grown to great proportions. The Divine Child attracts an ever increasing number of clients who appeal to Him in every need.

Origin of the Devotion

As previously mentioned, the statue of the Infant of Jesus of Prague was brought to Bohemia by a Spanish princess, whose mother had given it to her as a wedding gift. This noble lady, in turn, presented the image to her daughter. When the latter’s husband died, in 1623, she resolved to spend the remainder of her days in works of piety and charity.

She was particularly generous to the Carmelites of Prague who, after Emperor Ferdinand II, their founder, had removed his residence to Vienna, fell into such utter destitution that at times they had scarcely enough to eat. Accordingly, she presented her beloved statue to the religious with these prophetic words: “I hereby give you what I prize most highly in this world. As long as you venerate this image you will not be in want.”

Her prediction was verified. As long as the Divine Infant was venerated, God showed Himself a kind helper, through His Son, and the community prospered both spiritually and temporally. But when the devotion to the Infant was relaxed, God’s blessing seemed to depart from the house.

The statue was set up in the oratory of the monastery, and twice a day special devotions were performed before it. Here the religious sought relief in their bitter need from Him who for love of mankind had become poor.

The novices were particularly devoted to the Holy Infant. One of them, Cyrillus a Matre De, who was most devoted to the Holy Infant, found sudden relief from interior trials through this devotion.


However, the devotion to the Divine Infant was short-lived. On account of the disturbances of the Thirty Years’ War, the novitiate was removed to Munich, Germany, in 1630. With Brother Cyrillus and the other novices, the most fervent worshipers of the Infant of Prague had departed. The special devotions held before the image were gradually neglected. The prosperity of the community declined, and need and distress were again felt.

Then, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, the inveterate foe of Catholicism, invaded Germany. Many inhabitants fled from Prague, among them all but two of the members of the Carmelite monaster.

On November 15, 1631, the enemy took possession of the churches of the city. The Carmelite monastery was plundered, and the image of the Infant of Prague was thrown upon a heap of rubbish behind the high altar. Both hand were broken off by the fall, but, though made of wax, it was otherwise undamaged. Here the Miraculous Infant lay for seven years, forgotten by all. During this period the monastery suffered many reverses.



One the feast of Pentecost, 1637, Father Cyrillus a Matre Dei, the very one who, while a novice, had been delivered from a most annoying dryness of soul through his fervent devotion to the Holy Infant, returned to Prague. Unfortunately, Prague was again overrun by hostile armies. The distress was indescribable. In this extremity the prior assembled the community to offer humble prayers to appease God’s wrath.

Father Cryillus now remembered the favors formerly received through the Infant of Prague, and with the prior’s consent searched the monastery, until he found the long-lost treasure, almost buried in dust. Full of joy and gratitude, he kissed the disfigured statue and then placed it on an altar in the oratory. The long-forgotten devotions were now revived with renewed vigor. The religious disclosed their needs to the Divine Infant, and with Him they found strength and consolation.



As in former years, Father Cyrillus was the most zealous disciple of the Holy Infant. One day, when praying before the statue, he distinctly heard these words: Have pity on Me, and I will have pity on you. Give Me My hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.

Father Cryllius was awestruck at these words, for he had not noticed that the hands of the Divine Infant were missing, owing to the mantle in which the figure was clad. Hastening to the prior he begged him to have the image repaired. But the prior considered the community too poor to incur this seemingly needless expense.

Then Father Cryllius, through the Blessed Virgin, begged the Heavenly Father to send sufficient alms to have the statue repaired. His confidence was rewarded. Three days later, he was called to the sickbed of a wealthy man, to whom he related the history of the remarkable statue. The sick man at once gave a generous sum of money for the purpose of having it repaired. The prior, however, decided to but an entirely new statue. But the Divine Infant soon manifested His displeasure. Scarcely had the new statue been put in place when it was shattered by a fallen candlestick. The old and mutilated image was destined to continue as an object of veneration in the monastery.

The prior’s successor, Father Dominic of St. Nicholas, owing a lack of funds found it impossible to fulfill the wish of Father Cyrllius. Again the disappointed Father Cyrillus, through the Mother of God, begged the Divine Infant to send his superiors the necessary funds to repair the image.

One day a woman gave him a large sum of money. When he wished to thank her, she had disappeared; no one had seen her come or go. The happy friar then knelt before the altar of Our Lady of the Scapular and offered gratitude to heaven.

The prior, however, assigned to him only a very small part of the sum for the repairing of the statue. This proved to be insufficient, and Father Cyrillus found himself as far as ever from attaining his object. Once more he took his troubles to the Divine Infant. On this occasion he heard these words: “Place Me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid.” He did so and returned to his room, filled with hope, recommending all to his Heavenly Mother. Soon a stranger came to the sacristy, who offered to have the image repaired at his own expense. The prior accepted his offer and in a few days the repaired statue was exposed for veneration in the church. The Infant richly repaid the stranger for this good deed.

Meanwhile, new afflictions visited the community. A pestilence broke out in the city. The prior, too, became dangerously ill. When his attention was called to the Divine Infant, he vowed to say Holy Mass before the image for nine successive days, if he recovered. At once he felt relief and in a few days was completely restored to health. He fulfilled the vow and from that time forward fervently promoted veneration of the Miraculous Infant.

Some time later there again was great need in the monastery. The prior then led prayers to the Divine Infant, in which all the members of the community took part. After three days, a generous donation was given to them unexpectantly. The statue of the holy Infant was then removed to the church so that the people could also venerate the miraculous image.

In 1641, a woman donated a large sum of money to the monastery, expressing the desire that an altar be erected to the Most Holy Trinity. This was done, and the miraculous image was placed in a magnificent gold-plated shrine for public veneration.

In 1642, a noble woman had a chapel built for the Divine Infant. This chapel was dedicated on the feast of the Holy Name in 1644, and Mass was then celebrated in it for the first time. The feast of the Holy Name of Jesus thus became the principle feast of the Miraculous Infant of Prague.

Devotion to the Holy Infant has continued to spread throughout the world. Favors are continually reported.


Devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague is, as was said, devotion to the Child Jesus, to the Son of God who became man for our salvation. This devotion was particularly popular in the Middle Ages with great saints like Bernard of Citeaux and Francis of Assisi. Their own tender love for the humanity of our Lord found outlet in hymns, poems, songs, and sermons that attracted others to this devotion.

Closer to our own day, St Therese of Lisieux had a great love for the Infant Savior. She is known as Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, the name she took at her religious profession. A statue of the Infant was her special charge in the Carmel. Her ‘little way’ is based on the simplicity and trust of a child in our relationship with God. Among the prayers she composed is this one: “O eternal Father, Your only Son, the dear Child Jesus, is mine, since You have given Him to me. I offer You the infinite merits of His divine childhood, and I beg You in His name to open the gates of heaven to a countless host of little ones who will forever follow this divine Lamb.”


Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague in Urgent Need

(To be said for nine days or nine consecutive hours)

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered. (Mention your request)

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted. (Mention your request.)

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted. (Mention your request) Amen.


Prayer of Thanksgiving for graces received from the Infant Jesus

I prostrate myself before your holy image, O most gracious infant Jesus, to offer you my most fervent thanks for the blessings you have bestowed on me. I shall incessantly praise your ineffable mercy and confess that you alone are my God, my helper, and my protector. Henceforth my entire confidence shall be placed in you! Everywhere I will proclaim aloud your mercy and generosity, so that your great love and the great deeds which you perform through this miraculous image may be acknowledged by all. may devotion to your most holy infancy increase more and more in the hearts of all Christians, and may all who experience your assistance persevere with me in showing unceasing gratitude to your most holy infancy, to which be praise and glory forever, Amen.

Prayer to the Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague

Prayer Revelated by Our Lady To the Venerable Father F. Cyril OCD

O Infant Jesus, I have recourse to You and ask You through the intercession of Your Holy Mother to help me in my need, ( mention it here) for I firmly believe that Your Divinity can help me.

I hope, in complete trust, to obtain Your holy grace. I love You with all my heart and with all the strength of my soul. I am truly sorry for all my sins, and beg You, O good Jesus, to give me strength to conquer them. I shall never offend You and I am ready to suffer rather than to cause You pain.

From now on I want to serve with complete faithfulness and for love of You, O Divine Child, I will love my neighbour as well as myself. Omnipotent Child, Lord Jesus, again I implore You, help me in this need of mine (mention it).

Grant me the grace of possessing You eternally, with Mary and Joseph and of adoring You with the holy angels in Your heavenly court. Amen


Prayer to Be Said By a Sick Person

[May be used for a Novena]

O MERCIFUL Infant Jesus! I know of Thy miraculous deeds for the sick. How many diseases Thou hast cured during Thy blessed life on earth, and how many venerators of Thy Miraculous Image ascribe to Thee their recovery and deliverance from most painful and hopeless maladies.

I know, indeed, that a sinner like me has merited his sufferings and has no right to ask for favors. But in view of the innumerable graces and the miraculous cures granted even to the greatest sinners through the veneration of Thy holy infancy, particularly in the miraculous statue of Prague or in representations of it, I exclaim with the greatest assurance: O most loving Infant Jesus, full of pity, Thou can cure me if Thou willest! Do not hesitate, O Heavenly physician, if it be Thy will that I recover from this present illness; extend Thy most holy hands, and by Thy power take away all pain and infirmity, so that my recovery may be due, not to natural remedies, but to Thee alone.

If, however, Thou, in Thy inscrutable wisdom have determined otherwise, then at least restore my soul to perfect health, and fill me with heavenly consolation and blessing, that I may be like Thee, O Jesus, in my sufferings, and may glorify Thy providence until, at the death of my body, Thou doth bestow on me eternal life. Amen.



This chaplet consists of 3 Our Fathers in honor of the Holy Family, and 12 Hail Mary’s in memory of the 12 years of the Sacred Infancy of our Divine Saviour. To this chaplet of 15 beads is attached a medal of the Infant Jesus [of Prague].


Chaplet of the Holy Infant Jesus

“The More You Honor Me The More I Will Bless You”

On the medal the following invocation is said:

Divine Infant Jesus, I adore Thy Cross and I accept all the cross Thou wilt be pleased to send me. Adorable Trinity, I offer Thee for the glory of Thy Holy Name of God, all the adorations of the Sacred Heart of the Holy Infant Jesus.

Each Our Father and Hail Mary is preceded by the aspiration:

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.”

On finishing the chaplet say:

Holy Infant Jesus, bless and protect us.

This devotion owes its origin to the zeal of Sister Marguerite, a Carmelite religious, who died in France in 1648. She was distinguished for her devotion to the Holy Child Jesus.

Directed by heavenly guidance, Venerable Sister Marguerite of the BI. Sacrament (1619-1648), a Carmelite nun, fashioned the Infant Jesus Chaplet. Because its recitation pleases Him so very much

Jesus promised Sister Marguerite that the faithful who recite it in memory of His Birth, His Flight into Egypt, and His Hidden Life at Nazareth, will not only be granted the special graces of purity of heart and innocence, but in addition will be unfailingly assisted by His Divine Help in all their spiritual and temporal wants. Moreover, to encourage the use of this Holy Chaplet, P. Pius IX granted a 100 days indulgence for each recitation, also applicable to the Poor Souls (Aug. 9, 1855).

St John Neumann (Feast Day 5 January)

St. John Nepomucene Neumann
“The Little Bishop”
Feast: January 5

Photograph of St. John Neumann, taken in 1854, from the Redemptorist Archives

A baby boy was born on March 28, 1811 in the centuries-old village of Prachatitz in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). He was taken the same day to the parish church, baptized and named for one of the patron saints of his homeland, John Nepomucene.

The baby was the third child and the first son in the family of Philip and Agnes Neumann. His father, a native of Bavaria, owned a small stocking mill and was a minor village official. His mother was a Czech, a devout woman who attended Mass daily.

Painting of young John Neumann by itinerant artist

Young John Nepomucene Neumann developed into a keen student with a passion for books and for learning. He was gifted with a quick mind for study and a rare ability for languages. His schooling began in Prachatitz and continued after he was twelve in the town of Budweis, twenty-two miles away. He attended the Budweis Gymnasium (high school) and a philosophical institute there.

At age seven, the boy began to receive the sacrament of penance. At eight, he was confirmed by the Bishop of Budweis on the occasion of the first episcopal visit to Prachatitz that villagers could remember.

Old print of town and church of Prachatitz.

Neumann had no strong inclination for the priesthood in childhood, and at twenty he was still undecided about the choice of a career. The story of how he came to enter seminary is told in his own autobiographical sketch:

“When the time came, at the end of the philosophy course, for me to decide either for theology, or law or medicine, I felt more of an attraction for the last. This was all the more so because, out of eighty or ninety applicants for theology, only twenty were to be accepted. For this, along with the best scholastic transcript, recommendations were also required, and I wanted to have nothing to do with them.

“In this uncertainty about the choice of a profession, I came home in the autumn vacation of 1831 and found that my father was not against letting me study medicine in Prague, even though the expenses involved were great. My mother was not too happy with this. Even though I pointed out to her that I did not know anyone who would back my request for admission into the institute for the study of theology, nevertheless she thought that I should give it a try. I then wrote a letter of application and sent it to Budweis by a special messenger… Shortly after that I received the letter of acceptance into the Budweis Theological Seminary.

“From that moment on I never gave another thought to medicine and I also gave up completely the study of physics and astronomy on which I preferred to spend time, and this without any great difficulty.”

John Neumann spent two years at the diocesan seminary in Budweis, then transferred to that of the archdiocese at the University of Prague, where he completed his studies in 1835. Some of his textbooks and theological papers, transcripts of his marks and written reports of his instructors are all still in existence–as shown in photo.

His academic record was excellent, and he had exceptional skill in mastering languages. In addition to his native German and Bohemian, he knew Italian, Spanish, Greek and Latin. In Prague he undertook to learn English and French as well. In later life he taught himself Gaelic in order to minister to Irish immigrants.

At the seminary, Neumann made up his mind to become a missionary in America. Tens of thousands of German Catholics had emigrated to the United States. Whether living in crowded eastern cities or in the sparsely settled farm country to the west, most of them spoke only German and were out of communication with their Church. Urgent appeals for the assistance of German-speaking priests were being received in the homeland, and Neumann dedicated his life to that service. “My resolution was so strong and lively,” he wrote, “that I could no longer think of anything else.”

He met only disappointment at first. After passing his examinations, he learned that no new priests would be ordained in his diocese that year. He then attempted, even before ordination, to obtain an assignment to a diocese in the United States. This required his receiving a formal request from one of the American bishops.

Neumann tried to procure such an invitation and waited in vain for months at Prachatitz. Finally, he set out for America on his own-without knowing when he would become a priest or where he would undertake his missionary service. He knew only that he faced a life of hardship and lonely separation from his family.

After a long, slow journey from Prachatitz, Neumann reached the French port of Le Havre. Along the way he hoped to receive a request for his presence from one of the bishops in the United States, but none reached him. Discouraged but stoutly determined, he bought passage to New York from the captain of the Europa, an American three-master engaged in transport of immigrants. It had no comforts for its passengers. The young priest-to-be had to supply his own food for the voyage and to buy a pot to cook it in. He purchased a straw mattress on which to sleep on deck. For ten days he lived uncomfortably on the vessel until the captain had attracted enough passengers to make the voyage profitable.

Finally, on April 20, 1836, the Europa sailed for a rough, forty-day crossing of the Atlantic. John Neumann could not wait for the ship to dock. When it was delayed several days at quarantine, be found a ride in a row boat to Staten Island and reached Manhattan by a small steamer. It was June 2. All that afternoon he tramped the streets of New York alone looking unsuccessfully for a Catholic Church. He was 25 years old, not yet a missionary, not yet a priest, and so far as he knew not wanted by anyone in America. But next day all his uncertainty was ended. He was welcomed to the Diocese of New York by Bishop John DuBois and told that a letter had been sent him shortly before, gratefully accepting his service as a missionary.

In the whole New York Diocese with its thousands of immigrants, there were only three priests who could speak the German language. “I can and must ordain you quickly,” said the Bishop. “I need you.” He sent the young man to the German Church of St. Nicholas on Second Street in Manhattan to prepare for ordination (photo below). It was most appropriate that Neumann’s first assignment in America was to teach catechism in German to the group of children soon to receive first Communion. All his life he was deeply concerned for the religious education of young people in church and in school.

On Saturday, June 25, 1836 in old St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Mott Street in New York, (sketch below)

John Neumann was at last ordained by Bishop DuBois. The very next day he celebrated his first public Mass at St. Nicholas and gave first Holy Communion to the group of children he had prepared. The church overflowed with families, friends and parishioners who shared the joy of their German-speaking priest. That night, in his journal the new Father Neumann poured out to God his resolution for the days and years to come:

“I will pray to You that You may give me holiness, and to all the living and dead, pardon, that some day we may all be together with You, our dearest God.”

Two days later, Neumann set out for Erie County at the far western edge of the New York diocese. He traveled by Hudson River steamer, railroad, stage coach and canal boat, headed for the remote area of the state where an inrush of immigrants had followed the
opening of the Erie Canal. It was exactly the type of missionary duty to which the newly-ordained priest had dedicated himself.

For four years, 1836 to 1840, Neumann served as missionary in the farm country near Buffalo, New York. Much of the land was just being cleared of woodland and put into cultivation for the first time. Families were poor and widely scattered; towns were no more than a handful of houses; roads were bad, sometimes non-existent. The priest walked many miles from house to house, village to village, in good weather and foul. His duties took him as far northwest as Niagara Falls and as far east as Batavia. It was scarcely less fatiguing after he learned with some difficulty to ride a horse.

In his diary he describes his life: “Only a poor priest, one who can endure hardship, can labor here. His duties call him far and near… he leads a wandering life. There is no pleasure, except the care of souls… the Catholic population is continually increasing… many are in extreme poverty. They live in miserable shanties, some with not even a window.”

His headquarters at first were at Williamsville, which consisted of half a dozen houses and a stone church still roofless when he arrived. Since there was no rectory, he boarded with a Catholic family in an apartment over the village tavern. One of his first tasks was to dismiss a schoolmaster addicted to alcohol. For months he taught the children himself until a new instructor was found.

After a year, the young priest moved his base to North Bush, a settlement near the present Kenmore, New York. There he was guest in the cabin of a farmer. He had to walk a mile and a half through muddy woods to reach his church–a small log chapel which he helped to complete. Later the people of the community gave him a five-acre lot near the chapel and built a two-room log cabin for a rectory.

For some time he lived alone, cooking his meals, doing the housework, and often neglecting both in order to attend his priestly functions. But in September, 1838, his younger brother, Wenceslaus, came from Bohemia after many invitations to live in North Bush. Thereafter, Wenceslaus took over the chores of the rectory household and taught in the local school.

In New York state, Neumann observed the missionary work being done among German immigrants by several priests of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Although the Redemptorist Order had been established in Italy a century before, missionaries had not been sent to America until 1832. Father Joseph Prost, Superior of the small group then in the country, had been active at a church in Rochester, New York, and Neumann was particularly impressed by the religious devotion he found among parishioners there.

He came to feel that he might be more effective in nourishing the spiritual life of the people if he were a member of a religious community rather than a lone missionary-pastor. He recalled the saying: ‘Vae soli! Woe to the one who is alone!’

He decided to apply to Prost for admission to the Redemptorist Congregation. A factor in this decision undoubtedly was the complete physical collapse which left him unable to attend to his duties for three months in the summer of 1840. “I think this is the best thing I can do for the security of my salvation,” he wrote to his family.

After receiving prompt acceptance for admission and after asking relief from his responsibilities in the New York Diocese, Neumann left Buffalo for the Redemptorist foundation in Pittsburgh in October, 1840. His brother, ‘Little Wenzel’ remained behind only long enough to gather up their few possessions. Then he, too, traveled to Pittsburgh and became a Redemptorist lay brother, serving for the rest of his long life.

John Neumann took the habit of the Redemptorist Congregation on November 30, 1840 in Pittsburgh at old St. Philomena’s Church, at that time called “The Factory Church,” because it was located in an old industrial building. As a novitiate, his experience was unique. Instead of a quiet period of reflection and community prayer, he found himself repeately transferred from foundation to foundation, city to city, as need arose for interim pastors for German congregations. A Redemptorist chronicler reported:

“The first novice of our American Province did not enjoy the advantages found in the regular instruction and careful discipline of a well-regulated novitiate. He was entrusted with duties which usually fell to the charge of a professed religious only; nevertheless he distinguished himself by a faithful observance of rules, unaffected love for the Congregation, and the practice of eminent virtues.”

After this busy probation, Neumann made his religious vows in Baltimore on January 16, 1842–the first Redemptorist Profession in America. His first assignment was as assistant rector at St. James Church in the Maryland city. In March 1844, he was sent to Pittsburgh as Superior of the Redemptorist Foundation there.

A great new church had been started to replace the old factory building of St. Philomena (photo of St Philomena’s).

Financial difficulties had been encountered, and it became Neumann’s task to solve these problems as well as supervise the endless details of construction. When the new St. Philomena was at last dedicated in 1846, it was said that he had accomplished the impossible and had built a church without money.

Along with his responsibilities as Superior, Neumann made it his rule to carry more than his share of pastoral care for 6,000 German Catholics in Pittsburgh at that time. He visited the sick, heard confessions, celebrated Mass and preached regularly.

He labored to build up attendance at the parish schools. He made himself available to all who wanted his counsel. He drove himself hard and again sacrificed his health as he had in North Bush. He developed a persistent and racking cough which took much of his strength. He himself believed that his end might be near, but he refused to give up his work. Finally, it became necessary to order him to leave Pittsburgh and return to Baltimore.

“I am only doing what is necessary,” wrote the American Superior. “Without doubt, if he continues as he is, he may have to face an early death.”

During his two years at the Pittsburgh foundation, notwithstanding the pressures upon him, Neumann found time to write catechisms which – in many editions both in German and English – were in use among Catholic children in the United States long after the author’s death. Two catechisms that he wrote were approved by the American bishops at their Plenary Council in 1852.

The rest and recuperation anticipated on his return to Baltimore were not forth coming for the ailing 35-year old priest. Within a few day of his arrival he received unexpected instructions from Europe that he was to serve temporarily as Superior of all Redemptorists in the United States.

Although he had been a member of the Congregation only five years, he was called upon to cope with serious administrative problems which had been encountered during a period of rapid expansion. The Congregation had too few priests and much too little money, but was being pressed by Catholic bishops in important cities to assume responsibility for the ever-growing number of German congregations.

For 23 months, Neumann carried the burden of his assignment. He strengthened the Redemptorist Congregation, resisted pressure for unsound expansion and struggled to maintain focus upon spirituality and missionary zeal. Simultaneously, he undertook responsibilities for pastoral care among Germans in Baltimore and continued his unflagging interest in education.

One of his major accomplishments was to arrange for the School Sisters of Notre Dame, newly arrived in the United States from Munich, to locate in Baltimore and to take charge of schools at the Redemptorist churches.

While in Baltimore during this period, Neumann appeared in Federal Court and became a citizen of the United States. After his successor as American Superior arrived from Europe, Neumann became the first rector of the great German church which had just been completed and named for the founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus Liguori. The church stands today in the heart of downtown Baltimore (photo to below).

As rector, Neumann rejoiced in the opportunity for personal ministry among the people of the parish. He sought to be always available to anyone who needed or wanted him. When the present rectory was built next door to St. Alphonsus on Saratoga Street, he selected for himself the tiny first-floor room nearest the main door so he could easily be found, day or night, by any who came. During the night he himself often served as rectory porter.

In 1851, a new Archbishop of Baltimore arrived— James Patrick Kenrick, who had just completed twenty years as Bishop of Philadelphia. It was not long before Kenrick became aware of the outstanding virtues of the rector of St. Alphonsus. Attracted by Neumann’s extraordinary spirituality and devotion, the Archbishop began visiting the small room in the rectory to make his confession to Father Neumann.

Interior of St. Alphonsus Church

Toward the end of 1851, Kenrick astounded and dismayed his confessor by hinting that Neumann was under consideration to become the next Bishop of Philadelphia.

The Oblate Sisters of Providence, a group of black women religious, was saved from dissolution by John Neumann in Baltimore in 1847. The Community had been founded twenty years before to provide education for children of slaves. Its spiritual director had died, a number of Sisters had moved elsewhere, and the Archbishop of Baltimore felt the group should be disbanded. As confessor and adviser to the Sisters, Neumann interceded and won a reprieve. He assigned a zealous young priest to be director of the Community. It took on new life; its school grew in size, and the number of Sisters increased. They conduct schools, day nurseries and catechetical centers.

A photo of the Oblate Superior in 1847, Sister Louise Noel

Shaken by the prospect of becoming a bishop, John Neumann did all he could to avoid the appointment, appealing to Archbishop Kenrick and asking superiors of the Redemptorist Congregation to present his case in Rome. His plea was considered at a full meeting of the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda at the Vatican. Notwithstanding his sincere reluctance, it was believed that he was the proper choice for Philadelphia. Pope Pius IX put an end to any further review by designating John Nepomucene Neumann Bishop of Philadelphia “under obedience and without appeal.”

When this news reached Baltimore in March 1852, Archbishop Kenrick undertook to deliver it. The following dramatic account of the occasion is contained in the authoritative and scholarly Neumann biography published a century later by a Redemptorist, Michael J. Curley:

“Archbishop Kenrick walked down to St. Alphonsus Rectory and went to Father Neumann’s room, as was his wont when going to confession. Finding his confessor out of the house at the time, he laid on the rector’s table the episcopal ring and the pectoral cross he himself had carried for twenty-one years as bishop in Philadelphia. Then he went home without saying a word to anyone.

“When the rector returned to his room the sparkle of the ring caught his eye; he asked the brother porter who had been in his room. Informed that the Archbishop had been there, the full significance of the episcopal ring and the pectoral cross broke in on the soul of the priest who had never wanted any position of authority. He was like a stricken man. He went down on his knees in prayer. Still there and still praying, his brother Redemptorists found him the next morning.

“But he could do nothing about his elevation. He was Bishop of Philadelphia by the Pope’s command.”

Archbishop Kenrick was consecrator at the traditional and colorful rites in St. Alphonsus Church when John Neumann became Bishop of Philadelphia on March 28, 1852. The day was Neumann’s forty-first birthday. The majestic church where he had been rector was thronged with German parishioners joyful over the elevation of their friend and pastor. Among other gifts, German Catholics of Baltimore gave him the beautiful chalice which is still used in the Philadelphia Basilica on special occasions (chalice below).

Under instructions from his Redemptorist Superior, John Neumann spent most of the night before his consecration writing in German this 6,000-word sketch of his life. It is signed as Bishop-elect of Philadelphia with the episcopal motto which he had chosen: “Passion of Christ strengthen me.” The original seven- page manuscript is in the Archives of the Congregation.

See below for a section of this original manuscript of Fr Neumann as he prepared to receive episcopal ordination

John Neumann was to be Bishop of Philadelphia less than eight years before his sudden death in 1860. In that relatively short period of time, the priest who had not wanted any position of authority not only faced serious administrative and financial problems but also the feeling among some clergy and laity that he was not a good choice to be Philadelphia’s Bishop. In his own way he overcame the difficulties which confronted him, strengthened his Church, brought new spirituality into his diocese, and won the recognition of all as a religious of extraordinary sanctity.

Below: the Pectoral Cross worn by Bishop John Neumann:

Ever since the creation of the Diocese of Philadelphia in 1808, its bishops had all been Irish. Neumann’s German background led some to think him unsuitable. Others felt him not sufficiently impressive in appearance, manner and speech. He was short, only two or three inches over five feet; he was a man of humility, self effacing and soft spoken, with an old world accent. Even the diocesan newspaper, the Herald, had expressed some reservation at the news of his prospective appointment. Years later, his vicar-general, Father Edward J. Sourin, would say: “He knew well when he came to this proud city there were many not only among those who differ from us in religion but hundreds of our own Faith who wished as an occupant for the episcopate of this diocese a man more according to the judgment of the world.”

Undaunted, the new Bishop plunged into his duties with vigor. On the first day after his arrival in Philadelphia, he began visits to all the parishes and Catholic institutions of the city. During his first week he preached six times and conferred confirmations. He delivered a noteworthy lecture to members of the Philopatrian Institute, a Catholic literary society, which had been founded two years before and which still flourishes in Philadelphia. He visited the county jail to comfort condemned prisoners.

Ironically, one of his unpleasant tasks was to deal with open rebellion at the historic German Catholic Church, Holy Trinity, at Sixth and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia. Established in 1788, it was the first ethnic or national congregation in America. A clash of authority had developed between the trustees of the church and its German-speaking pastor during the regime of Neumann’s predecessor, Bishop Kenrick, and Kenrick had closed Holy Trinity. Soon after Neumann’s tenure began, moreover, a court decision was rendered holding that the rebellious trustees were the legal owners of the Holy Trinity property.

Below: Bishop John Neumann’s Coat of Arms with motto: “Passion of Christ strengthen me.”

The normally mild Bishop met the situation head-on. He refused to appoint a pastor for Holy Trinity. He took the legal battle on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and he ordered construction of another German church, St. Alphonsus, in South Philadelphia. Much bitterness followed, and the Bishop suffered in silence a great deal of public abuse. But after two years of litigation he won a landmark victory, the Supreme Court decreeing that those who did not recognize the authority of the Catholic Church were not members and therefore could not hold title to church property. Holy Trinity was reopened under the authority of the Bishop and services are still conducted there in the historic section of Philadelphia.

On his first Sunday night in Philadelphia, Bishop Neumann preached here in Old St. Joseph’s Church in Willings Alley, a landmark of religious freedom in America.

St. Joseph’s was founded in 1733 at a time when British law forbad public celebration of Catholic Mass. The colonial government of Pennsylvania decided, however, that William Penn’s Charter of Liberties for his settlers superseded the law of Great Britain. For a time St. Joseph’s was the only place in the English speaking world where Mass was openly celebrated.

When Bishop Neumann arrived in Philadelphia, there was another important German Catholic church, St. Peter the Apostle, at Fifth Street and Girard Avenue. Built to accommodate the large number of German immigrants settling in the neighborhood just north of the city’s boundary, St. Peter’s was staffed by Redemptorists. It had been dedicated in 1848, when Neumann was serving as the American Superior of the Redemptorists. This was perhaps the place in Philadelphia where Bishop Neumann always felt most at home. It was one of the largest and most magnificent houses of worship of its time, seating 1,200 worshippers.

It became the Bishop’s weekly custom to walk about a mile and a half from his residence on Logan Square to make his confession at St. Peter’s. His monthly and annual retreats as prescribed by the Redemptorist Rule were spent at the old rectory on Fifth Street. On such occasions he avoided all display of rank or special privilege, mingling with the Community in his well-worn habit. It is said that no stranger could have identified him as a bishop.

Neumann celebrated Mass and preached often at St. Peter’s. He was friend and adviser to many of the poor German parishioners. When he died, special permission was given for his burial in the crypt of the church, and today the Neumann shrine is located here.

The beautiful Church of St. Peter the Apostle has changed little over the century since Bishop Neumann was so often here. A memorial plaque reads: “St. Peter’s is more than Bishop Neumann’s resting place. He walked its aisles; he often knelt here, lost in prayer. His crozier rang on the sanctuary stones. His little feet moved up and down these aisles as he bore the Blessed Sacrament in Forty Hours Processions. The walls recall his voice; preaching at High Mass, catechising little ones before Confirmation, complimenting the nuns who taught them–the School Sisters of Notre Dame. St. Peter’s was very close to his heart.”

Next door to Bishop Neumann’s official residence on Eighteenth Street opposite Logan Square, construction was underway on Philadelphia’s imposing new Cathedral. Work had been started six years before his coming to the city. The brownstone building was to be the largest and most costly cathedral in the nation, but in 1852 construction was not one-third completed. The walls were not yet up to roof height. Large sums of money were needed to carry on the project, and these were not always forth-coming. The Bishop found himself urged by many to speed up construction and to authorize borrowing by the diocese to provide financing when necessary. But while he wanted to see the great edifice completed, he regarded the construction of parish churches and schools to be of first importance.

Times were hard; money was short, and what was available went first to the other construction. The Bishop refused to incur new debt for the cathedral, and at times the work on that building came completely to a halt. As a result, the Cathedral was still unfinished at the end of Neumann’s lifetime. It was not completed and consecrated until four years after his death.

The Bishop did have the happiness, however, to see the great copper dome completed and a shining eleven foot cross erected above it – photo above. A special ceremony was arranged to mark the occasion on September 14, 1859-the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. On that day, which meant so much to him, the Bishop chose not to be celebrant, but rather to serve as an assistant.

In 1976, Pope Paul VI designated Philadelphia’s Cathedral as a Basilica.

Bishop Neumann was distressed on coming to Philadelphia to learn that despite the large size and population of the diocese, no more than 500 children were attending parochial schools. He set out at once to correct the situation. Meeting at his residence with clergy the very first week he was in the city, he assigned high priority to the strengthening of existing schools and the establishment of new ones in parishes
where none then existed.

Within a month of his arrival, a new Central Board of Catholic Education was created consisting of the pastor and two laymen from each parish. Neumann asked the Board to devise a general plan of instruction for the diocese and assist the parishes, particularly the poor ones, in fund-raising. But selection of teachers and fixing of salaries were left to the pastors of the several churches. Major campaigns were started to raise money for schools. The Bishop preached far and near on the necessity of quality education for young people under sponsorship of the Church.

Results were immediately apparent. In a letter to his father, Neumann wrote that within about a year the number of students in parochial schools had increased from 500 to 5,000. After two years, he was able to report to Pope Pius IX that enrollment had reached 9,000. Neumann’s concern put Philadelphia in the lead in Catholic education in the United States, and his influence continues to this day.

This painting by Giavanni Gagliardi, c. 1860, shows Bishop Neumann’s lifelong concern for Catholic education

In October 1854, Bishop Neumann traveled to Europe to be present in Rome at one of the most solemn and stirring events of Catholic Church history-the promulgation by Pope Pius IX of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, he made the only return visit of his lifetime to his homeland.

Five prelates from the United States journeyed to Rome for the great occasion of the proclamation. Nearly two hundred other cardinals and bishops were there from all parts of the world. During the preceding month they met in convocations at the Vatican to review the papal bull to be issued in connection with the ceremony presided over by Pope Pius IX (image below).

December 8, 1854 was the memorable and historic day. Fifty thousand people gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica. More than a thousand
priests sang the litany. “I thank the Lord God,” wrote Bishop Neumann, “that among the many graces he has bestowed upon me, He allowed me to see this day in Rome.” He added that no words of his could describe the solemnity of the occasion as the Supreme Pontiff read to the hushed throng the words of the celebrated definition:

“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first moment of her conception by the singular privilege and favor of Almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved immune from all stain of original guilt, has been revealed by God and therefore must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.”

Bishop Neumann was in Rome for two months, living with the Redemptorist Community of Santa Maria in Monterone. He took part in a number of ceremonies related to the proclamation of the dogma, and he visited most if not all of the historic churches of Rome. He made daily pilgrimages on foot, enjoying the rare chance for religious contemplation. Most of the time he wore the simple habit of his Congregation.

In early 1855, he visited Northern Italy and Austria. He met the former Emperor Ferdinand and received from him a gift of gold to help with the financing of the Philadelphia cathedral. Finally reaching his native Bohemia, he was met at Budweis by a nephew, John Berger, who became a constant companion for the remainder of the visit. Berger was so influenced by his uncle’s life that three years later he came to the United States and became a Redemptorist priest. (When Neumann died, Berger spent years gathering records and correspondence, talking and writing to people who had known the Bishop at various times from his school years to his final days. In 1883, Berger published in German the first authoritative Neumann biography.)

Returning to his birthplace, Prachatitz, after eighteen years, Bishop Neumann was reunited with his 80- year old father and with his sisters. His mother had died five years before. He stayed for a week in the modest family homestead and visited the scenes of his childhood. Relatives, friends and village folk regarded him as quite the most famous son of the old community. They gave him a public reception in the town hall and presented him a handsome album with signatures of the people of Prachatitz. He kept it with him for the rest of his life, and it is now preserved at the Neumann Shrine (photo of album below).

Accompanied by Berger, Neumann visited Munich before his return home. He was persuaded to sit for a portrait photograph so lithographs might be made and sold to raise money for the poor. He wore his Redemptorist habit, the episcopal ring and his pectoral-cross. In his hand he held the album from Prachatitz. John Berger records in his biography that the Munich photograph and another taken in Baltimore just prior to consecration were the only ones ever made of Neumann.

Bishop Neumann gave religious communities of nuns, brothers and priests importance in his diocese. He fully appreciated the need for their unselfish service in schools, hospitals, homes for children and the aged, and help for the poor. In eight years, he brought into the Philadelphia diocese seven religious orders which had not previously been located here -The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Christian Brothers, the Holy Cross Brothers, the Benedictines and the Franciscan Conventuals.

In addition, Neumann founded in Philadelphia a wholly new Congregation of women, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. This action was suggested by Pope Pius IX himself. While in Rome, Bishop Neumann had discussed his intention of inviting one of the European Congregations, the Dominican Sisters, to come to Philadelphia to help care for the poor of the diocese. The Holy Father approved, but thought that the purpose might be better served by training a new group of religious specifically for the work, and he suggested placing it under the patronage of St. Francis.

Providentially, at that very time, word reached Neumann that three Philadelphia women who had established a hospice for working girls in St. Peter’s parish were seeking permission to form a Franciscan community. Before leaving Rome, he obtained authority to found the Sisters of St. Francis and to receive the Philadelphia trio as its first members. On April 9, 1855, only a few days after his return from Rome, he invested them with the habit of novices at St. Peter’s. He heard their final vows on May 26, 1856 at the altar of the private chapel in his residence.
The Bishop’s private altar before which the three original Sisters made their vows is preserved in a tiny shrine on the grounds–see photo to below.

Marie Ann Bachman, a young widow, became Sister Mary Francis, the first Superior. The others were her sister, Barbara Boll, who became Sister Mary Margaret, and a friend, Anna Dorn, who became Sister Mary Bernardine.

The Sisters began devoting much of their time and energy to the care of the sick. After their numbers increased, they established St. Mary Hospital in St. Peter’s parish. Moreover, at the request of Bishop Neumann, they became teachers as well. They serve in many other parts of the country and conduct missionary centers in Puerto Rico. (Other religious communities of women in Buffalo, New York City, Pittsburgh and Syracuse also trace their origin back to Bishop Neumann’s founding of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.)

The Motherhouse of the Philadelphia community is located on a scenic hilltop at Glen Riddle, Aston, Pennsylvania–a property which Bishop Neumann first purchased for the preparatory seminary which he established. A bell which he gave to the seminary is still used at the convent to call the Sisters together.

Notwithstanding all the financial difficulty of the times, Bishop Neumann regarded it a holy duty to provide new churches and new church buildings wherever and whenever need arose. His biographer, Father Curley, records that more than 80 were begun or completed during Neumann’s tenure of less than eight years (ed. comment: that’s about one new church per month for his episcopate!).

Bishop Neumann proposed at the Eighth Provincial Council in 1854 that his widespread diocese be divided in two. With characteristic modesty, he volunteered for transfer to a newer and smaller See in upstate Pennsylvania so a new bishop could be named for Philadelphia. But such action did not meet approval in Rome. Instead, James Frederick Wood, a native Philadelphian then stationed in Cincinnati, was brought to assist Neumann as Coadjutor Bishop with right of succession.

Bishop Wood was consecrated in April 1857. By taking charge of business and financial affairs in Philadelphia, including construction of the Cathedral, he enabled Bishop Neumann to give even more of himself to the spiritual care of the diocese and the expansion of churches and schools.

The two bishops were complete contrasts in personality. James Wood was a native American who had been trained in banking before his conversion to Catholicism and his ordination as a priest. He was tall, robust, self-confident, a fluent speaker and completely at home in any situation. When the two went to the Ninth Provincial Council in 1858, Bishop Neumann once more recommended division of the diocese and proposed that Bishop Wood remain to lead Philadelphia. Again, immediate approval was not forthcoming. After Neumann’s sudden death in 1860, Bishop Wood was the leader of the diocese for 23 years, becoming in 1875 the first Archbishop of Philadelphia.

Although the appointment of the Coadjutor Bishop relieved Neumann of many administrative and temporal matters, he continued to work day and night in the service of his diocese. He poured all the more of his energy and strength into pastoral care and an exhausting schedule of visitations throughout his widespread territory. The Christmas season in 1859 was typical. On Christmas Eve he heard confessions
until eleven o’clock at the temporary chapel which had been built on Logan Square pending completion of the Cathedral. An hour later he was at St. Peter’s celebrating midnight Mass for the German congregation there. Later he returned to offer a private Mass at the chapel, and at ten on Christmas morning he conducted services at St. John’s.

Ten days later he had to cancel a trip which he had planned to make to Reading, Pennsylvania. “I am not feeling well these last few days,” he wrote in a letter of regret. Next day, January 5, 1860, he was no better, although he continued his usual busy schedule. A priest who saw him at his residence after lunch that day reported that the Bishop said, “I feel as I never felt before. I have to go out on a little business and the fresh air will do me good.” Shortly after that he left the residence, never to return.

One of the errands he undertook that day—on foot, as usual – was an act of kindness for a priest of Bellefonte, Pa., who had sent a chalice to Philadelphia for consecration. The vessel had been misplaced in transit, and Bishop Neumann planned to go to the railroad express depot to see about it.

He went first to an attorney’s office to sign some real estate papers. Afterward, hurrying along the icy sidewalk of the south side of Vine Street, he collapsed on the front step of a house at 1218 Vine. He was carried inside the building to the warmth of a fireplace in the front parlor. But it was too late to aid him. He was dead when one of the young priests he himself had ordained came hurrying to his side with holy oil for extreme unction. John Neumann’s life on earth was over, a few weeks before his 49th birthday.
Deep shock and disbelief swept the entire community when the news spread. Then there followed an unprecedented display of the people’s respect and affection for “The Little Bishop.”

Thousands came to bid farewell at the Cathedral Chapel where the body first was placed. Two days later, streets were thronged as the funeral procession moved through center city by way of Eighteenth Street and Chestnut Streets to the Pro-Cathedral of St. John’s. Four black horses pulled the glass-sided hearse past weeping mourners. That night, all night long, St. John’s was filled with men and women of many faiths and from all walks of life coming to see the Bishop for a last time.

Burial was at first planned for the narrow yard beside St. John’s, but the Redemptorists of Philadelphia emphasized a Neumann wish to be laid to rest at St. Peter’s. When Archbishop Kenrick arrived from Baltimore, he authorized a change of plans. Kenrick understood Neumann’s feeling. He knew very well how much Neumann would have preferred the life of a simple member of the Congregation to that of Bishop.

Another solemn funeral cortege moved through packed streets from St. John’s to St. Peter’s. Far into another night, German parishioners filed by the casket of the diminutive Bishop they had known so well and loved so deeply. Next morning there was a second funeral Mass and a sermon preached in German by a Redemptorist. Then the body was carried to a vault beneath the floor of the sanctuary of the lower church.

Men and women who felt that Bishop Neumann had always been close to God began coming to his burial place to pray almost from the day of his interment. People who had known him told of his extraordinary sanctity. Clergy recalled his many virtues and his tireless work for the Church. As additional visitors were attracted to the crypt chapel of St. Peter’s, there were reports of individuals and families who had experienced relief from spiritual distress and physical ills after visiting his tomb. From the beginning, many thought of the Bishop as a saint.

Twenty-five years after Neumann’s death, in 1885, Philadelphia Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan instituted a diocesan investigation of his virtues. Eleven years later, the cause was formally accepted for study by the Congregation of Rites, now called the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The body was exhumed and examined by Church commissions. Relics were obtained. In 1921, the Christian virtues of Philadelphia’s fourth Bishop were proclaimed to be of heroic degree by Pope Benedict XV, who said:

“Works even the most simple, performed with constant perfection in the midst of inevitable difficulties, spell heroism in any servant of God. Just because of the simplicity of his works, we find in them a strong argument for saying to the faithful of whatever age, sex or condition: ‘You are all bound to imitate the Venerable Neumann’.”

On October 13, 1963, John Nepomucene Neumann was beatified. He was canonized on June 19, 1977, and became the first American bishop to be so honored.

Source: http://themissionchurch.com/stjohnneumann.htm

Novena prayers to St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R.

Click image to download pdf holy card

St. John Neumann, acknowledging our dependence upon Almighty God and recognizing the power of your intercession, we come to you because many prayers have been answered through your intercession. You were an inspiration to all who knew you. You went wherever the care of souls required your presence. You were always an example of charity and sacrifice. It was your life of virtue which merited a place in heaven. As we submit to the will of God in heaven, we pray that our petitions be granted for His honor and glory and for the salvation of souls.

St. John Neumann, pray for us.

St. John Neumann, manifest yourself to all who seek your help. Teach us to prefer God in everything we do. Protect us from spiritual and temporal harm. Alleviate the sufferings of the poor, the aged, and the infirm. Many times you experienced the sorrows of life, and yet you overcame those trials. Show us how to overcome our trials and tribulations. We want to grow in faith, hope, and love. Never let us forget that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. May we always be worthy of that honor.

St. John Neumann, intercede for us.

St. John Neumann, you had great devotion to our Eucharistic Lord. Pray that we may know and love the Eucharist as you did. Give strength and courage to the Vicar of Christ. Protect our bishops, priests, and religious. May all people be zealous for the kingdom of God. Enlighten the minds of people who seek truth. Lead them to the path of justice. How good it is to know that you will never forget our families, relatives, and friends. Protect our loved ones away from home. May your prayers comfort the souls of our departed brethren. St. John Neumann, pray that we may live and die in the state of grace.

Look upon us with favor, St. John Neumann. We claim you as our very own. You are familiar with the places where we live, work, and pray. As a priest, you lived here among our forefathers. You taught them. You blessed them. You prayed for them. How often they gathered to pray with you. You did this so that they might enjoy the glories of heaven. Just as our predecessors came to you, so now we come to you. We are confident you will not disappoint us. Pray for our intentions.

(Pause and reflect on your intentions)

Whatever God grants through your intercession, we accept with a deep sense of gratitude. We thank Him. We praise Him. We want to be with Him forever.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, you placed the holy confessor St. John Neumann among the elect of Your sanctuary. May his life be an inspiration to all who seek eternal glory. May our prayers be answered through his intercession. May they be answered not only through his intercession but most especially through the merits of Jesus Christ, Who lives forever and ever. Amen.

The novena prayer to St. John Neumann is prayed by the congregants at the National Shrine of St. John Neumann every Wednesday after each Mass and has been for many years. Please join your prayers with ours on Wednesdays as we implore St. John Neumann for his powerful and prayerful intercession and ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

A daily prayer through the merits of St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R.

God, our Father, You are the source of hope for all who believe. Hear and answer the prayer I offer You through the merits of St. John Neumann, Your devoted son and servant. In his name and for Your greater honor and glory, give me the graces I need to live as he lived. In all that I do in this life, may I be motivated by love for You and for all mankind. May faith be the cornerstone of my life, and may I reflect your presence living within me to everyone I meet.

I place my life in Your hands. Help me to see in all my needs, my problems, and my crosses Your love working for my sanctification. Through the intercession of St. John Neumann, watch over me today and every day so I may persevere in the Christian life to the end and share in the happiness of Mary and all the saints who live in Your presence. I ask You this through Christ, Your Son, Our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for St. John Neumann’s intercession

O St. John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.

Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted, and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and at times painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.

May death still find us on the sure road to our Father’s house, with the light of living faith in our hearts.

A prayer with St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R.

St. John Neumann,
You were once a layman:
help those in the priesthood of the laity
to respond gladly to God’s call to holiness.

You were once a seminarian:
help our young men and women
to answer God’s call for service in the Church.

You were once a catechist:
help those in the teaching ministry
to burn with the divine Word that they proclaim.

You were once a diocesan priest:
help all of our priests
To serve in vowed commitment to the Lord.

You were once a member of a religious order:
help all of our religious
to walk faithfully in the footsteps of their founders.

You were once a bishop:
help the leaders of our Church
to shepherd us in building God’s kingdom today.

St. John Neumann, help us all. Amen.

The selfless prayer with St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R.

Dear Lord, make me selfless as St. John Neumann was. Throughout my life, give me the grace to direct my first thoughts to the service of You and of others. Make my prayer “Your will be done,” knowing that in Your mercy and love, Your will for me is my sanctification.

Merciful Father, You have given me all that I have in this world, even life itself. In all my daily needs, help me to remember the needs of others too. Make me aware of the need to pray to You, not just for myself but also for the Church, the pope, the clergy, and all people who suffer any need. I ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

A novena to St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R.

First day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me a solid faith in all the teachings of the Catholic Church, along with the light to know the emptiness of earthly possessions, along with the seriousness of my sins. Obtain for me also the special favor which I ask through your intercession with God.

Pray the following after each day’s novena prayer:

Lord, in these days of pride and display, the humble ways of your servant, Bishop Neumann, inspire us to imitate your own divine example. Teach us to be like your servant, the holy bishop, intent on pleasing you first and on performing good deeds free from the desire to be seen and glorified by others. That his holy example may continue to influence others, grant the favors we ask through his intercession.

Conclude with one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

Second day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me from the Father, through the merits of Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Virgin Mary, and your own prayers, the pardon of my sins, final persevering in faith, and the gift of paradise. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Third day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me a deep love of God that will detach me from the love of created things and from myself, to love him above all things and to seek his glory. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Fourth day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me a perfecting accepting of the will of God that I may accept in peace the events of daily life and even death itself. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Fifth day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me a deep sorrow for my sins, that I may ever grieve over the displeasure I have given my God. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Sixth day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me a true love for my neighbor that will urge me to do good even for those who have offended me. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Seventh day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the help needed to resist temptations by invoking the holy names of Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Eighth day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me a strong devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ, to the Blessed Sacrament, and to my Mother, Mary. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Ninth day

St. John Neumann, obtain for me above all the grace to persevere in faith and trust in God, especially in times of temptation and at the hour of death. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray: Lord, in these days . . .

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

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