Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The National Shrine of Saint John Neumann
The story of Saint John Neumann:
Born in 1811, John Henry Nepomucene Neumann was the first American male to be Canonized. Originally from Austria, he was unable to be ordained there due to an excess demand of ordinations…a problem we hope to have again some day!
Having studied English, he wrote to the Bishop in New York who agreed to ordain him and assigned him to Western New York state where much of his time was spent traveling from town to town helping to build churches and educate the people. He later went on to become Bishop of Philadelphia where he organized the first diocesan schedule of the Forty Hours’ Devotion in America and also established the first unified Catholic school system in the country.
He was also founder of a religious order for women, the Third Order of St. Francis of Glen Riddle,
Upon his death in 1860 at the age of 48, Bishop Neumann was buried in a basement crypt in Saint Peter’s Church, at his own request, so that he might be with his Redemptorist confreres.
Not long after his death, people began arriving at the crypt to ask the Bishop to intercede with God for them. During the years from 1891 to 1900 typhoid was rampant in Philadelphia, taking the life of thousands, and yet not one member of Saint Peter’s died. At least three miracles were credited to his intercession in the process of promoting his cause to sainthood, although many more were claimed.
About the Shrine of Saint John Neumann in Philadelphia:
Consisting of an upper and lower church, it also houses a museum and gift shop. There are scheduled Masses, Confessions, Eucharistic Adoration and devotions throughout the week. The Redemptorists at the Shrine regularly engage in preaching parish missions, retreats, and the 40 Hours Devotion.
The body of Saint John Neumann (basically a skeleton, but with his face covered by a mask to preserve his look) is on display in the lower church. His vestments have been changed several times over the years, most recently in 1989. A local funeral director helped in the restoration of the body at that time, adding real hair to the skeleton as well as other features so that he now looks much like he did in real life.
Guided tours are available for groups. The Shrine Church & Museum is open 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays.
The gift shop and Shrine office is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Traveling to the Shrine of St. John Neumann:
The Shrine is located in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties section.
Address: 1019 North Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
GPS coordinates: 39° 58′ 11.2764” N, 75° 8′ 40.8804” W
Tel: +1 (215) 627-3080 Fax: +1 (215) 627-3296
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann in Philadelphia.