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St. Jean Marie Vianney: The Model of Priesthood Today
‘The Catholic Church, which elevated this man in sacred orders, who was ‘wonderful in his pastoral zeal, in his devotion to prayer and in the ardour of his penance’ to the honours of the saints of heaven, now, one hundred years after his death, offers him with maternal joy to all the clergy as an outstanding model of priestly asceticism, of piety, especially in the form of devotion to the Eucharist, and, finally, of pastoral zeal.’ Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia 10 St. Jean Marie Vianney was born in Dardilly, near Lyons, on 8 May 1786, the son of Mathieu Vianney and Marie Béluze, poor peasants with a strong faith. He was not a Religious but an example of the life of a diocesan priest lived in the desire and pursuit of holiness. However, as John XXIII points out in SNP 11, his life reveals a holiness lived in accordance with the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. Pope Pius XII had said that these counsels are not binding on the secular clergy, yet it is true that they are signs of holiness, and become a foundation for the life of all priests for they are founded on virtue which is universal, which is of course consecrated to be lived with radicalism in religious life, but which contain a call to all Christians, and not least to priests.