Fr. Roger Landry: St. John Vianney’s Pastoral Plan for Eucharistic Revival

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Canvas depicting the Curé of Ars exhibited in the chapel of Providence in Ars (photo: Benoît Prieur, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

COMMENTARY: The Curé d’Ars’ pastoral strategy to get his people to return to their Eucharistic Lord is a model of practical wisdom that can guide the Church today.

Father Roger LandryAs Catholics in the United States enter more deeply into the three-year Eucharistic Revival inaugurated by the bishops last month on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, there are many lessons and much hope to be gained by successful Eucharistic renewals that have taken place in Church history. One of the most important was led by the patron saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, in his parish of Ars, France, in the 19th century.

When St. John Vianney arrived at St. Sixtus Church in 1818, most of the 230 residents of the village assembled the next Sunday to learn the identity of their new shepherd. Few presented themselves, however, for Holy Communion at Mass — and the following week, few presented themselves at Mass at all. As spring came, songs of praise for God on the Lord’s Day were regularly routed by the cacophony of anvils, carts and workers in the fields — and morning revelry in the taverns. …

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