that there is not one stop light in this out-of-the-way place, an hour away from Lyons, France! There is an absence of loud trucks, honking horns, and the hustle and bustle of the typical city life back home.
The simplicity of the people, the dedicated Benedictine nuns, the countless priests, the body of one man, and the celebration of countless Masses in this small village creates a very holy atmosphere for the countless pilgrims who come to visit the Curé of Ars.
Pictured above is one of the seminarians in prayer before the remains of St. John Vianney. In 2009, the Holy Father declared a Year for Priests and made the Curé patron of all priests. Since then, countless people have joined their priests in pilgrimage to visit the Curé and asks his prayers for their ministry.
“You have shown me the way to Ars. I will show you the way to heaven.”
~St. John Vianney
These past five days of retreat have allowed me to join these many pilgrims in asking Saint John for such favors. As another year brings me closer to priestly ordination, I can easily be filled with worries about my vocation, my own fears before God and the uncertainty of the future. Yet, what better saint to turn to then the patron of all priests!
Each day I made my visit to the Curé to be with him in prayer, to entrust him with all the seminarians and priests who have been part of my journey, to read on his life, and to be inspired by his holiness! This retreat was filled with an outpouring of graces during, what my Godson Nico, would call, “you and Him” time in these compelling days in Ars!
Where Saint John preached God’s Word for the entirety of his ministry
An evening with the Most Reverend Guy Claude Bagnard, Bishop of Belley-Ars, France, as he speaks on Saint John Vianney.
Fr. Frederick L. Miller was on point in his book, The Grace of Ars. He stated, “Let us go to Ars in spirit. In that small town, out-of-the-way place that has been so profoundly touched by God, there is hardly a thing to do except pray and only one person to get to know!” I am grateful that God never disappoints and has led me to this holy place to be with such a great saint. Tomorrow, we will close the retreat with Mass in front of the body of this holy man!
Afterwards, our destination points to the land of gelato! But more importantly, we go now to the ROCK, to the Successor of Peter and to be inspired by his living words and his presence! We go now to journey to the heart of Catholicism to be among the martyrs and saints of the early Church and there to pray, study, and celebrate the Sacraments: Vatican City!
A real backdrop coming soon!