Aug. 4th is the feast day of the great Saint John Vianney, patron of all parish priests. And what a fitting patronage it is!

By God’s grace, and with unstoppable devotion to his vocation, Vianney transformed the small French town to which he was assigned. His fame as a confessor and counselor became so great, tens of thousands of pilgrims visited him each year.

What’s less known about him, though, is the fact that he endured physical attacks from the devil.

In one story, his sister spent the night at his home attached to his parish church when a strange rapping sound on the wall and table awakened her. Afraid, she went to John, who was hearing confessions late at night.

He explained:

“Oh, my child, you should not have been frightened: It is the Grappin [“pitchfork”; his nickname for Satan]. He cannot hurt you. As for me, he torments me in sundry ways. At times he seizes me by the feet and drags me about the room. It is because I convert souls to the good God.”

In another instance, Vianney was in his parish church hearing confessions when someone reported that Vianney’s bedroom had caught on fire.

His response?

“The Grappin is very angry. He couldn’t catch the bird so he has burned the cage. It is a good sign. We will have many sinners this day.”

What incredible faith!

He was so beloved that, after dying at age 73, a bishop presided over his funeral Mass with 300 priests and 6000 people in attendance.

Saint John Vianney's Prayer for Priests

God, please give to your Church today
many more priests after your own heart.
May they be worthy representatives
of Christ the Good Shepherd.

May they wholeheartedly devote themselves
to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining models of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of your grace in the sacraments.

May their loving devotion
to your Son Jesus in the Eucharist
and to Mary his Mother
be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.


Saint John Vianney, please pray for us!

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