(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Jean Vianney’s Incorrupt Heart was on display at St. Joseph Cathedral Tuesday afternoon before continuing on its pilgrimage this week.
Hundreds of citizens gathered Tuesday to view a 150-year-old relic and pray.
Saint Vianney is the patron of parish priests. He served as a priest in a small French parish before his death in 1859. After his death, his heart was removed from his body and preserved in a gilded case.
Catholic officials say the artifact is more than a century old but hasn’t decayed. Many Catholics see relics as a physical link to God and as evidence of miracles. For those in that tradition, opportunities for veneration do not present themselves often.
The Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, Connecticut, sponsored the relic’s pilgrimage across the United States. Peter Sonski is part of the organization and the custodian of the heart.
Vianney’s heart has already traveled great distances, stopping in 22 states before Tuesday. The City of St. Joseph was picked as the March 19th stop in the 3-week tour.
Father Steve Hansen of St. Joseph’s said 300 people attended mass Tuesday morning and hundreds more waiting in line to venerate the heart throughout the day.