Today is the Feast Day of Saint John Vianney, originally the patron saint of parish priests, and whom Pope Francis several years ago made the patron saint for ALL priests.
The liturgy of the hours are prayers that every priest and religious brother and religious sister promise to pray every day. Each day consists of at least 5 different times of prayer. And so part of Saint John Vianney’s liturgy of the hours is taken from the back where we find what is known as the Common of Pastors, and here as why I say all that. I was praying that this morning and there was a line from Scripture in the common of pastors that struck me, and it is this. “On your walls, Jerusalem, I have set my watchmen to guard you.” Which is Isaiah chapter 62 verse 6.
Every pastor is literally appointed a watchman over everyone living in his parish boundaries, and the Catholic Church takes that very seriously. Every pastor is mandated to offer one Sunday Mass for his people. I literally pray every morning for all those living in my parish boundaries.
That ministry of being a watchman flows from the Archbishop of Indianapolis, who is also a watchman for the entire Archdiocese, and in some ways the Pope is also a watchman for the whole world.
Saint John Vianney is the patron saint for all priests because he was a watchman par excellence. He heard confessions between 10 and 16 hours each day, and preached the truth with zeal and love.
Please pray for me, your pastor today, that I may be a better watchman on the wall of my parish boundaries, and that I may be more closely conformed to the heart of Saint John Vianney and the Heart of Jesus through prayer. Amen.