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January 5

Saint John Neumann photo

Saint John Neumann


(1811 – 1860)

“How gladly , O my God, would I thank Thee for the unnumberable benefits Thou dost heap upon me!

Saint John Neumann

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

John Nepomucene Neumann was born at Prachatiz, Bohemia on March 28, 1881. He was the third of six children of Agnes and Philip Neumann. Early on in his young life, he was attracted to the religious life. John entered the diocesan seminary of Budweis in 1831. Two years later, he went to the archiepiscopal seminary at Prague University.

A Missionary Priest in the United States

Unable to be ordained because of a surplus of priests in Bohemia, John went to the United States in 1836. He was ordained on June 25 in New York later that same year. John devoted the next four years to missionary work, especially among German-speaking Catholics in upstate New York. In 1840, John joined the newly established branch of the Redemptorists at St. Philomena’s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He became the first Redemptorist to take his vows in the United States.

In 1842, John continued his missionary activities in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He became the rector of St. Philamena’s in 1844.  He was named vice regent and superior of the American Redemptorists in 1847.

Bishop of Philadelphia

John was consecrated as the fourth bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1852/ He reorganized the diocese while inaugurating a widespread program of new church and school buildings. John started there were two parochial schools, however by the time he died there were nearly one hundred.

John was an active proponent of Catholic education and wrote two catechisms that were endorsed by the American bishops at the first Plenary Council in 1852. These catechisms were widely used in Catholic schools over the next thirty-five years. John died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States on January 5, 1860. He was renowned for his holiness, charity, pastoral works, and preaching.

Born:                    March 28, 1811 in Prachatitz, Czech Republic

Died:                     January 5, 1860 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Beatified:             October 13, 1963 by Pope Paul VI

Canonized:          June 19, 1977 by Pope Paul VI

Feast Day:            January 5

Patron Saint:      Catholic Education; Educators; Redemptorists; Teachers


Hard to believe that in the 1800’s, the Diocese (where Saint John Neumann wanted to become a priest) had more priests than it needed, with some priests ordained the previous year still lacking assignments. Regardless of this news, Saint John Neumann’s desire to be a priest drove him to the United States. There will always be in a need to educate Catholics whether it is home or abroad (and even more so these days in the 21st century). So, may God give you the grace, strength and wisdom to take up St John’s baton and bring a fresh injection of hardy spirituality and authentic morality into America’s youth. Provide a Catholic education to your family, friends and people in your community and/or abroad through your life and actions.

How can you be “priest like” in educating the Catholic faith to those you encounter today?


St. John Neumann,

You left home and family to toil in the remote regions of the United States for the sake of the gospel.

May your tireless dedication to the needs of the Church inspire us to “toil” God’s love at home with our families sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Enkindle in our hearts the same fire of love that burned in your own.

St John Neumann, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

America Needs Fatima  – Saint John Neumann and The Immaculate Conception

Catholic Cuisine – Bohemian Kolaches for St. John Neumann

Catholic Exchange –  Saint John Neumann

Catholic Fire – St. John Neumann: Promoter of Devotion to the Eucharist

Catholic Ireland –  Jan 5 – St John Neumann (1811-1860) 1st US bishop to be canonized

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint John Nepomucene Neumann

Franciscan Media – Saint John Neumann

Independent Catholic News – Saint John Neumann

Juan Neumann Center Immigration Services – Biography of St. John Neumann

Loyola Press – Saint John Neumann Feast Day January 5

My Catholic Life – Saint John Neumann, Bishop, 1811–1860

National Shrine of Saint John Neumann – National Shrine of St. John Neumann Website

Newman Ministry – Saint John Neumann

Saints, Feast, and Family – St. John Neumann’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint John Neumann (1811-1860)

Saints for Sinners – Saint John Neumann

uCatholic – St. John Neumann

Vatican News – St. John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia, United States

Wikipedia – John Neumann

Video Link

St. John Neumann – YouTube Video (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)