Skip to comments.(St. John) Neumann's New Vestments (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 01/04/2008 8:45:54 AM PST by Pyro7480
St. John Neumann's old vestments (modern Gothic-cut polyester):
St. John Neumann's new vestments (traditional Roman-cut silk):
From The Catholic Standard & Times:
Great model of holiness
Saint John Neumann clad in new episcopal vestments before feast day
By Lou Baldwin
Special to the CS&T
PHILADELPHIA — St. John Neumann, Philadelphia’s fourth bishop who is enshrined in a glass casket under an altar at St. Peter the Apostle Church, was clad in a new set of vestments on Dec. 27, just in time for his upcoming Jan. 5 feast day.
“It is the bicentennial of our Archdiocese and we want to celebrate the holiness of the Church in Philadelphia,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, who oversaw the reverential opening of the saint’s casket and the exchange of the episcopal garb.
“We have a great model of holiness in St. John Neumann and it was thought it would be good if we could put him in new vestments, also vestments that could reflect the period during which he was actually a bishop and in which he lived and died,” the Cardinal said. “He remains here in the Church that he loved and he remains with us in Philadelphia. This is an opportunity to draw more attention to the fact that he remains with us under the altar.”
The Cardinal’s first visit to the shrine of St. John Neumann was in 1979, when he accompanied Pope John Paul II during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia, he recalled.
“Also on my very first day as Archbishop, I came here,” he said. “I was at the canonization of St. John Neumann on June 19, 1977, and I have carried a relic of him ever since he was canonized.”
Among others present for the vestment change were Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Cistone; Redemptorist Provincial Superior Father Patrick Woods; Msgr. Daniel J. Sullivan, vicar for Philadelphia-South; Msgr. George Tomichek and Redemptorist Father Kevin J. Moley, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle.
“Bishop Neumann was one of the great saints of our congregation,” said Father Woods. “I’m always humbled to be here. We look to him for guidance and advice, and we feel there is a great legacy he gave us.”
From its foundation in 1842, St. Peter the Apostle has been staffed by Redemptorists. In the early days members of that congregation were buried beneath the church. Following his wishes, after his death in 1860, Bishop Neumann’s remains were also buried there.
Later, the other Redemptorist bodies were removed to Holy Redeemer Cemetery. In 1903, an examination of Bishop Neumann’s grave showed his coffin badly deteriorated and his remains were placed in a new coffin enclosed within a zinc casing. Then, in 1962, during his process toward canonization, his body was exhumed, given new vestments and publicly displayed for veneration — much as it is today. Again in 1989, at a time when the shrine was dramatically renovated, the body received new vestments.
This time, in addition to the new vestments, a new pectoral cross modeled from the cross Bishop Neumann wore in life was placed on the body, as was a new episcopal ring. A new face mask, expertly crafted by forensic sculptor Frank Bender, was placed on the body.
The whole process took more than a year of planning, according to Father Moley. “This was a sacred moment, touching the body of a saint,” he said. “I like the results — you can see the face ... reflects the face of St. John Neumann.”
Msgr. Tomichek, who was born in St. Peter Parish, was present at each of the openings of St. John Neumann’s casket from 1962 on, and it was he who arranged many of the details — including the 19th-century style vestments hand-made in the Philippines.
“I think the results are wonderful,” he said. “The new mask especially looks so real. People are saying it is magnificent.”
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo's parish and a freelance writer.
He must not be one of the incorrupts, since they have applied a face mask. But clearly he's in pretty good shape, generally and considering.
I would highly recommend of biography of St. John titled “A Bishop, A Saint: The Life of Saint John Neumann, by Father James J. Galvin, CSsR. I was given a copy of this book, and it really gave me a sense of what a great saint he was.
Thanks, I will look for it.
Is this the same guy who wrote Apologia Pro Vita Sua?
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