St. John Neumann touched the lives of St. Alphonsus’ early parishioners. From 1840 to 1841, he traveled frequently to the community from St. Philomena Church in Pittsburgh’s Strip District where the Redemptorist priests were centered.
He would later become pastor of St. Philomena in Pittsburgh’s Strip District and then bishop of Philadelphia.
Born in 1811 in Bohemia, St. John Neumann (pronounced NOI-man) was attracted to the priesthood at an early age. He left his homeland to be a missionary priest to the United States, due to an overabundance of clergy in Bohemia as well as the rest of Europe. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of New York in 1836 and traveled extensively throughout New York and New Jersey, ministering to new immigrants. In need of a community of brothers, Saint John entered the Redemptorist order of missionaries and made his final vows in 1841.
In 1847, St. John was appointed superior of the Redemptorist order and was later named bishop of Philadelphia. He established parishes and schools in his diocese as well as introducing the Eucharistic devotion known as The Forty Hours Devotion.
St. John was present in Rome and participated in the ceremonies in which the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Saint John died at the age of 48 in 1860 and was canonized in 1977. His incorrupt body lays in a glass sarcophagous for public veneration in Saint Peter’s Church in Philadelphia.
He is the patron of Catholic schools and missionaries.
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