Forwarded on behalf of The Knights of Columbus

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2019

Press Contact:
Joe Cullen
[email protected]

Major Relic of Priest Renowned for Holiness Visits NY, Brooklyn and Long Island
St. John Vianney is offered as a model for today’s priests
NEW YORK – A major relic of the saint who is held up as the ideal of what a Catholic priest should be is set to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and other sites in the New York metropolitan area from April 4 to 11. The national relic pilgrimage is being sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

The incorrupt heart of St. John Marie Vianney, contained in special casing making it visible to the faithful, will be available for veneration at the cathedral and an additional seven venues in Yonkers, Brooklyn and on Long Island.

The national relic pilgrimage was announced by Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in an Aug. 21 letter to K of C chaplains and members.

The tour has been dubbed “Heart of a Priest,” which refers to the physical heart of John Vianney that has resisted decay for more than 150 years and to the good character that should belong to every priest. Vianney was famous for his tireless work on behalf of his people, especially in the confessional, and for the holiness of his life.

The term “incorrupt” refers to a human body that has avoided the normal process of decomposition after death. It is a sign — but not a proof — of the person’s holiness. Relics are a physical object associated with a saint that may be offered to the faithful for veneration – not worship.

The relic pilgrimage began in November and New York will be the 29th state to receive a visit. The Knights estimate that 115,000 people have viewed the relic, including 17,000 attending a gathering in Indiana of young adult Catholics earlier this year.

The relic will make stops at these New York area locations:

  • St. Joseph’s Seminary, 201 Seminary Avenue, Yonkers, on Thursday, April 4, from 7 to 10:00 p.m. The location is designed to make the relic available to residents of Westchester Country and the northern counties in the Archdiocese of New York.
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 50th St. and Fifth Ave., Manhattan, over the weekend of April 6-7. Veneration will take place in the Lady Chapel and in the main sanctuary for the 10:15 a.m. Mass on Sunday, April 7, which will be celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
  • Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 5411 Amboy Road, Staten Island, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, and from 7 to 8:45 a.m. on Monday, April 8.
  • Church of the Curé of Ars, 2323 Merrick Avenue, Merrick, NY, from noon on Monday, April 8, through an all-night vigil into Tuesday, April 9, culminating in a 7:30 p.m. Mass. The relic will return to Curé of Ars on Thursday, April 11, beginning at 7 a.m. and will include adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a reflection by Rockville Centre Bishop John Burres.
  • Cathedral Prep School and Seminary, 56-25 92nd St., Elmhurst, NY, on Tuesday, April 9, beginning with a 10:30 am. Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez and continue to 2:30 p.m.
  • Veneration will continue Tuesday, April 9, at Immaculate Conception Center, 7200 Douglaston Pkwy, Douglaston, NY, from 5 to 7:30 p.m with a Mass at 5:30 led by Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto.
  • Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio will celebrate Mass with the relic present at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 1550 Hendrickson St., Brooklyn on Wednesday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. Veneration will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and earlier in the day at Xaverian High School, 7100 Shore Road, from 2:45 to 4:30 p.m.

“The possibility of a pilgrimage was offered to us by the Shrine at Ars some months ago,” the Knights’ Anderson said recently. “We now welcome as providential this opportunity to invoke the intercession of the patron saint of parish priests, whose holiness and integrity is a singular model for clergy.”

To learn more about the relic pilgrimage, visit

About St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney popularly known as the Curé of Ars, is revered as a model of priestly generosity, purity and prayerfulness. Born in France in 1786, he grew up in a time of open hostility to the Church in the wake of the French Revolution when the faith was attacked, churches destroyed, and the clergy martyred. Assigned to lead the parish in the small farming community of Ars. Father Vianney excelled at both prayer and work.

He was famous for hearing confessions for up to 18 hours a day as people from across Europe and beyond came to see him. His notoriety throughout the Catholic world grew even after his death in 1859 and he continues to inspire a quest for holiness by both priests and the laity.  His incorrupt heart — a major relic — normally resides at the shrine named for him in Ars.

About Relics

In Catholic tradition, Neither the relic nor the saint are to be worshipped, but are rather venerated as holy objects in recognition of the fact that God has worked through the saint.  A major or first-class relic was part of the saint’s body as opposed to something that the saint touched or wore. Bodily incorruption is sometimes seen in Catholic saints and blessed.