“Give them some food yourselves” (Mark 6:37)
On This Date…
On January 5, 1860 Bishop John Neumann collapsed on Vine Street in Philadelphia and died at age 48; he had become the 4th bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. He was one of six children, born in the Czech Republic in 1811. Putting aside his desire to be a physicist, an astronomer, and a physician, he entered the seminary, emigrated to the United States at age 25, and was ordained a priest in New York the same month. He first served as a missionary in New York and Pennsylvania, attending to many immigrants (he spoke eight languages). In Philadelphia Bishop Neumann opened 58 Catholic schools, initiated the Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotion in parishes, wrote two German catechisms, and totally spent himself in service to farmers, coal miners, and the rural poor. He is buried in Saint Peter’s Church in Philadelphia. Saint John Neumann High School, staffed by the Norbertines from 1934 to 2000, is the alma mater of Mr. Burdziak, Mr. Malseed, Father Zagarella, and myself. Bishop Neumann was canonized a saint in 1977.
In today’s Gospel Jesus told the disciples who saw a vast and needy crowd, “Give them some food yourselves”. Saint John Neumann gave himself completely to the people in Philadelphia.
– Father McLaughlin