‘Heart of a Priest’ Relic Pilgrimage Visits St. Catherine of Siena

TRUMBULL—The incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney will visit the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena on April 29 and 30, 2019.  The Shrine of Ars, France, has entrusted this major relic, which is perhaps the most visual piece of evidence pointing to Vianney’s holiness and sainthood, to the Knights of Columbus for a national U.S. tour through June 2019. The only event of this Relic Pilgrimage in the Diocese of Bridgeport, this is a special opportunity to offer veneration to the major relic of the patron saint of parish priests and confessors, whose holiness and integrity is a model for everyone.

Holy Mass in the presence of the Heart of St. John Vianney will be celebrated on Monday, April 29, at 7:00 pm.  The Most Reverend Daniel A. Cronin, Archbishop Emeritus of Hartford, will be the principal celebrant and homilist for this Mass, which will take place on the parish’s patronal feast, the Solemnity of Saint Catherine of Siena. Immediately following Mass, throughout the night, and concluding at 7:00 am, there will be an all-night vigil of prayer in the presence of the Heart of St. John Vianney. Excerpts from his homilies will be read every hour, on the hour. Prayers for priestly vocations, especially in the Diocese of Bridgeport, will be offered. Confessions will be heard from 8:30 pm until midnight. Participants are welcome for any duration of time.

Students from local elementary schools will attend Holy Mass on Tuesday, April 30, at 9:00 am. Father Joseph Marcello, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena, will be the principal celebrant and homilist. Parishioners and friends of the parish are also welcome to attend.

“Through prayer, we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the soul and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.” – St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney was born in 1786 and served as a parish priest in the French town of Ars. He was noted for his dedication to the poor, his counseling to those in need, for founding an orphanage for girls, but most especially for his work as a confessor. He spent as many as 18 hours a day hearing the confessions of people who traveled from throughout Europe to see the priest who was known for such extraordinary holiness and piety, and to experience the love and mercy of God.  St. John Vianney died on August 4, 1859. His heart, which is normally kept for veneration at the Shrine of Ars in France, is incorrupt.  Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1925 and proclaimed him the patron saint of parish priests and confessors in 1929. A century after his death, Pope John XXIII reflected on the life of the saint and what it means to be a holy priest: The pastor of Ars lived a life of great penance, whose “only motives were the love of God and the desire for the salvation of the souls of his neighbors.”

The Catholic Church teaches that a relic is offered to the faithful for veneration, but neither the relic nor the saint is worshipped. Veneration recognizes the fact that God has worked through the saint.

The shrine and the Knights of Columbus had discussed a relic tour, which began at the Knights’ birthplace in New Haven, Conn. last November, before the church’s sexual abuse scandals broke the summer of 2018. After the scandals broke, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said: “We now welcome as providential this opportunity to invoke the intercession of the patron of parish priests, whose holiness and integrity is a singular model for clergy…St. John Vianney offers an example to help the church heal and rebuild.”

All are welcome to venerate the relic of this great, humble saint, a true model of holiness. To pray for holiness for our priest and bishops. To pray for reform. And to pray for personal holiness for yourself, family and loved ones.

(For more information about St. John Vianney and the Relic Pilgrimage, please visit

The Parish of Saint Catherine of Siena warmly welcomes anyone who is new to our area, anyone who is searching for the truth, or anyone who is looking for a spiritual home. We are joyfully and faithfully Roman Catholic in belief and practice – a community of faith, worship, service, and formation – and with open hearts we invite all our brothers and sisters into a living and saving friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ, in the communion of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are conveniently located at 220 Shelton Road in the Nichols area of Trumbull.