Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Miracle In The Making on Long Island

They came from everywhere, far and near to bear witness to the miracle of the undecayed heart of a parish priest who would become St. John Vianney. Born into the family of a poor farmer in 1786, he became a priest at the age of 30 after first failing the examinations necessary prior to ordination twice. In the early days he seemed destined for mediocrity as his competency came into question, requiring he be placed under the tutelage of a priest in a neighboring village.

What he lacked in book learning, he more than made up for with the many spiritual gifts he unstintingly shared with all who came to him. Best known for a gift of healing and seeing into the hearts of worshipers, his fame spread through France and crowds sought him out for his advice. He began hearing confessions in the earliest hours of the morning, sometimes spending up to 13 to 17 hours within the confines of the confessional.

In a remarkable and unprecedented act, the heart and chalice of St. John Vianney was brought to an 80 year old church in Merrick, the first of many named in his honor. For five days believers arrived in staggering numbers to experience this once in a lifetime event. They stood in long lines for the chance to pray before the relic, some in the hope of witnessing a miracle. The miracle just might be the tremendous outpouring of faith at a time when the church can use all the positive reinforcement it can get.

As the patron saint of priests, St. John Vianney would appear to be continuing in the service of mankind.

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