Incorrupt Heart of St. John Vianney to Visit Great Britain

Relic of French Saint Seen as Aid in Praying for Renewal of Priesthood

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SHREWSBURY, England, JULY 4, 2012 ( The incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney will be taken to Great Britain for the first time in the Diocese of Shrewsbury for a four day visit. The visit of the relic follows a request by Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury to retired Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, France, when they met in September 2011.

Bishop Bagnard will accompany the relic along with Fr. Gaspard Graplet, vice rector of the seminary in Ars. 

Encased in a gold crescent-shaped box, the heart of the French saint was found incorrupt and was removed from his body 45 years after his death. The last time the heart was taken from its reliquary in France was for the opening of the Year for Priests in June 2009. The saint’s heart was taken to the Vatican for the opening ceremony and carried in procession through St. Peter’s Basilica.

The visit of the relic will focus on three intentions:to provide an occasion of prayer for the renewal of the ministerial priesthood in the diocese, to inspire new and generous vocations, and to spur the renewal of the missions and life of all parishes in the diocese.

In a pastoral letter on the tour of the relic, Bishop Davies commented on the life of St. John Vianney and the relevance his ministry has in the Church today. «The earthly labors of St. John Vianney are now complete but today we seek his assistance from Heaven in prayer for the renewal of the Priesthood, for the renewal of our parishes and for those new and generous vocations for the future,» he said.

The relic will tour Wythenshawe, Liverpool, Cheshire, Shrewsbury Cathedral and finally be taken to the Annual Vocations Discernment weekend in Birmingham, before returning to France on July 9.

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