THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS IS AT THE SERVICE
OF THE COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH
—CCC, NOS. 1533-1600
A SAINTLY BISHOP AND A HOLY PRIEST
In just eight years as bishop of Philadelphia (1852-1860),JohnNepomucene
Neumann increased the number of parochial schools from two to nearly
one hundred. He oversaw the building of fifty new churches and founded
a preparatory seminary. To staff the schools, he enlisted the aid of a num-
ber of religious congregations. He was the first bishop in the United States
to encourage the Forty Hours Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He wrote
two catechisms, a Bible history, and a number of pastoral letters.
He preached frequently, heard confessions, went on sick calls, and
followed an extensive schedule for the Sacrament of Confirmation. He
could speak eight languages and several Slavic dialects, a gift he used
to bring Christ and the Church to the multi-ethnic members of his diocese.
He even learned Gaelic so he could minister to the immigrants from west-
ern Ireland who were escaping the potato famine.
Born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) in 1811, John Neumann
studied at the seminary at Budweis and the University of Prague. He grad-
uated with honors from the university in 1835, at the age of twenty-four.
While he was at the seminary, he acquired an interest in the United States.
After his graduation, he emigrated to New York, where Bishop John Dubois
accepted him for ordination to the priesthood in 1836. He was then sent to
the missions of upper and western New York State.
Four years later, he entered the Redemptorist Order. In 1847 he became
a citizen of the United States. He became the superior of the Redemptorist