This nineteenth century French priest is venerated as the patron saint of parish priests, on account of the radical change wrought in his parish in his lifetime through his devotion to the Holy Spirit, Holy Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Our Lady.

He said: ‘The Holy Spirit leads us along, as a mother leads her two-year old child by the hand, as a sighted person leads a blind one. We should say each morning: “O my God, send me Your Holy Spirit, who will make me understand what I am and what You are …” A soul who possesses the Holy Spirit enjoys an exquisite taste in prayer, it never loses the holy presence of God’.

He is here echoing St Paul, who wrote: ‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God’.

May St John Vianney pray for us, and may God bless you.