By Katie Engesser
An incorrupt heart was carried down the aisle of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Flatlands, Brooklyn Wednesday night – the relic of a saint who has inspired priests for decades.
“[He is] the priest of all priests,” said Father Dwayne Davis, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, “A priestly man with a great zeal for the love of God’s people.”
St John Vianney, who is the patron saint of priests, is making a pilgrimage throughout the United States, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
After two days of veneration in the Diocese, Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Auxiliary Bishops James Massa and Raymond Chappetto, retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq and dozens of priests and parishioners celebrate mass with ‘The Heart of a Priest.’
“He’s a man of great Holiness. I think that’s why God gave him that grace of an incorruptible body and heart that can go around the world still to inspire people,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
The parish priest first began spreading the word of God in nineteen century France. He was known as a great confessor and he gained a reputation for reading hearts, often spending up to 18 hours a day in the confessional. With Holy Week fast approaching, the Diocese of Brooklyn is thankful for the Priest’s presence.
“We go to the simple life of John Vianney and it reminds us that his heroic virtue was not in the budgets or the fixing of the buildings it was taking care of the souls of the people in the parish,” said Father Michael Gelfant, pastor of Saint Finbar Catholic Church.
Brooklyn’s Bishop DiMarzio added, “[We are] praising God for putting this great saint in our midst at a time when we need priestly holiness to bring the church back to where it needs to be.”