Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Catholic Defender: Saint John Neumann

I grew up in Blue Springs Missouri where I received the benefit of a good Catholic education.

My Mother worked hard to send my Brother and me to St. John La Lande Catholic School.

I had great Priests and lay volunteers who helped shape my morals growing up in troubled times.

This was made possible because of many people but today, the Church is recognizing St John Neumann.

St. John Neumann was born in Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) on 28 March 1811.

He was a Redemptorist Missionary to the United States. This is something I am seeing more as Missionary Priests from Africa are coming to the United States today.

That is very interesting to me as we were known to be sending missionaries to the world, now the world is sending us missionaries.

St. John Neumann would become the 4th Bishop of Philadelphia at a time when the Catholic Church was the object of persecution from Protestant mobs.

A political party remembered as the "Know Nothing Party" were responsible for inciting hatred of Catholics.

They set fire to convents and schools throughout the Northeast. The "Know Nothing Party" or also known as "The American Party", opposed the Irish and German Immigrants making it difficult for them to find jobs.

Because of the second class status of these Immigrants, violence was the result. The Know Nothing Party was Protestant based males born of British descent past the age of 21.

The party began as a semi-secret organization that would become a political force of the 1840's and 50's winning elections from Chicago to Boston. As a result of the "anti-Slavery" movement, the Republican Party was born in 1854 which led to the extinction of the Know Nothing Party.

This is important to understand because this kind of hatred towards Catholics would lead to the finding of the "Knights of Columbus", by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut in 1882.

Principally to help the widow and orphans. This would also show how Unions were formed to counter this kind of hatred to give all Americans the same opportunity to succeed.

This is why Catholics for so long have been loyal to the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately today, the Parties have switched considerably as the Democratic party has become a very liberal, socialistic Party that espouses anti-Catholic policies such as Gay Rights and Abortion Rights.

The Democratic Party today is striving to take Christ out of public life.

Returning to the time of St. John Neumann, his leadership was crucial for so many who had to live under this anti-Catholic climate.

Despite the anti-Catholic sentiment and violence, St.John Neumann would be successful establishing Churches, Orphanages, Catholic Schools helping all to include German and Irish Immigrants. On 5 January, 1860, St. John Neumann died of a massive stroke as he was walking the street doing God's work among his people.

He is regarded as the first American male Saint as he was canonized by Pope Paul VI on 19 June, 1977.

The Redemptorists are celebrating the 200th anniversary of St. John Neumann's birth beginning this year and will end on 23 June 2012.

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