Cardinal Rigali Named Envoy for St. John Neumann Event

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, JUNE 16, 2011 ( The archbishop of Philadelphia will represent Benedict XVI at an event celebrating one of his predecessors, St. John Neumann, the first American to be canonized.

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Cardinal Justin Rigali will represent the Pope this Saturday at celebrations in Prachatice, Czech Republic, marking the 200th anniversary of the saint’s birth.

St. John Neumann was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1977. His feast is Jan. 5.

John Neumann (1811-1860) was a missionary to the United States who became the fourth bishop of Philadelphia (1852-1860). 

He was born in Prachatice but came to America to follow his vocation to the priesthood. He was ordained in 1836. Four years later, he joined the Redemptorists. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1848.

As bishop of Philadelphia, he was the first bishop in the U.S. to organize a diocesan school system.

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