Relic Pilgrimage of St. Jean Vianney's Incorrupt Heart
Major relic of priest saint renowned for holiness to visit Greensburg April 17
St. Jean Vianney is offered as a model for today’s priests
GREENSBURG – A major relic of the saint who is held up as the ideal of what a Catholic priest should be, will have a day-long visit in Greensburg on Wednesday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace Parish, 1011 Mount Pleasant Road.
The incorrupt heart of France’s St. Jean Vianney will be available for veneration beginning at 9 a.m. with an opening procession and a Mass celebrated by Bishop Edward C. Malesic.
The day’s schedule continues:
- Confessions, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-7 p.m.
- Rosary, 11 a.m.
- Midday prayer, noon
- Way of the Cross, 2 p.m.
- Divine Mercy Chaplet, 3 p.m.
- Holy Hour for Vocations, 5:30 p.m.
- Solemn vespers, 7:30 p.m.
- Closing prayer and blessing by Bishop Malesic, 8:30 p.m.
The saint’s heart is contained in special casing and will be visible to the faithful.
A national relic pilgrimage was announced by Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in an Aug. 21 letter to K of C chaplains and members. The relic pilgrimage will run well into the spring and includes stops throughout the country.
The tour is titled “Heart of a Priest,” which refers to the physical heart of St. Jean Vianney that has resisted decay for more than 150 years and to the good character that should belong to every priest.
“The possibility of a pilgrimage was offered to us by the Shrine at Ars some months ago,” Anderson said recently. “We now welcome as providential this opportunity to invoke the intercession of the patron saint of parish priests, whose holiness and integrity is a singular model for clergy.”
Margaret DiVirgilio, chancellor of the Diocese of Greensburg, said, “He was known for his mercy. He would spend hours in the confessional helping people who sought forgiveness. What better time to recognize the mercy of God than Holy Week?”
Members of the Knights of Columbus from around the diocese will serve as honor guards throughout the event.
To learn more about the relic pilgrimage, visit
About St. Jean Vianney
St. Jean Vianney popularly known as the Curé of Ars, is revered as a model of priestly generosity, purity and prayerfulness. Born in France in 1786, he grew up in a time of open hostility to the Catholic Church in the wake of the French Revolution when the faith was attacked, churches destroyed and the clergy martyred. Assigned to lead the parish in the small farming community of Ars, Father Vianney excelled at both prayer and work.
He was famous for hearing confessions for up to 18 hours a day as people from across Europe and beyond came to see him. His notoriety throughout the Catholic world grew even after his death in 1859 and he continues to inspire a quest for holiness by both priests and the laity. His incorrupt heart — a major relic — normally resides at the shrine named for him in Ars.
In Catholic tradition, a relic is a physical object associated with a saint that may be offered to the faithful for veneration. Neither the relic nor the saint are to be worshipped, but are rather venerated as holy objects in recognition of the fact that God has worked through the saint. A major or first-class relic was part of the saint’s body as opposed to something that the saint touched or wore. The term “incorrupt” refers to a human body that has avoided the normal process of decomposition after death. It is a sign — but not a proof — of the person’s holiness, and is sometimes seen in Catholic saints and blesseds.