Kelly Stewart, a member of St. Sharbel Parish in Portland, venerates the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney March 6 at the Grotto. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)
Kelly Stewart, a member of St. Sharbel Parish in Portland, venerates the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney March 6 at the Grotto. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)
Men, women and children crowded into the Grotto church in hopes of spending a few short moments before the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney. The relic was visiting the Grotto as part of a tour sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, was ordained a priest in 1815 in France. He undertook penance and prayer to bring souls to Christ. He had a particular gift for spiritual counsel, spending up to eighteen hours a day hearing confessions from locals and faithful across Europe.

The heart, which was taken from the saint’s body after his death to recognize his burning love for God, has remained intact for more than 150 years.

The heart visited St. Joseph Parish in Salem and Mount Angel Abbey March 5, as well as the Grotto and St. Mary’s Cathedral March 6. Those venerating the heart were offered the chance to briefly touch a few religious items against the glass and also to say a few short prayers in front of it.