Feast of St. John Nepomucene Neumann

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A mosaic of St. John Neumann is seen in the Trinity Dome at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. He was the first U.S. bishop to be canonized in 1977. The mosaic was dedicated Dec. 8, 2017. (Tyler Orsburn/CNS)

Jan. 5

Named for St. John Nepomucene, patron saint of his native of Bohemia, John entered the seminary and was nearing ordination when he departed for the United States to become a missionary.

He was accepted by the then Diocese of New York, which covered the entire state of New York at the time, as well as portions of New Jersey. After being ordained, he was assigned to serve the German immigrants primarily in the northern part of the state.

Feeling a call to live in community, John discerned entering the Redemptorists, professing vows and serving as a priest in New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

In 1852 he was named the fourth bishop of Philadelphia. He founded more than 50 churches and greatly expanded Catholic education. John had a fondness for immigrants and knew six languages. His pastoral zeal was evident up to his last moments of life. He collapsed and died in the street at age 48.

He is a patron saint of Philadelphia.