Pope Benedict XVI has declared a "Year of the Priest," which began on June 19 2009, and has brought special focus on St. John Vianney. Beatified by Pope Pius X and declared a saint by Pope Pius XI this French Saint has become known as the Patron Saint of Parish Priests.
Coinciding with the 150th year after St. John Vianney's death Pope Benedict has declared a year of dedication to the mission of the priest.
St. John Vianney lived during the turmoil and austerity of the aftermath of the French Revolution, which exerted great hardships on the Church as revolutionaries persecuted clergy and destroyed churches. He inspired people through these troubled times and became loved by crowds. His simple approach to life endeared himself to be known as the living image of the priest after the heart of Christ