National Shrine of Saint John Neumann

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National Shrine of Saint John Neumann
The National Shrine of St. John Neumann is a Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to St. John Neumann, who was the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia and the first American male to be canonized. The shrine is located in the lower church of St. Peter the Apostle Church at 1019 North 5th Street, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The St. Peter's was built in 1843. Adjoining the lower church is a small museum, which displays exhibits relating to the life of the saint. The National Shrine of St. John Neumann and St. Peter's Church are under the care of the Redemptorists, the religious community of which St. John Neumann was a member.

History
When St. John Neumann died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1860, he was buried as he requested at St. Peter's Church beneath the undercroft floor directly below the high altar. Neumann was beatified by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council, and he was canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Paul VI in 1977. Following his canonization, the undercroft of St. Peter the Apostle Church was renovated into a lower church, becoming the National Shrine of St. John Neumann. The body of St. John Neumann lies in a glass-enclosed reliquary under the main altar. The body of the saint is dressed in the episcopal vestments with a wax mask covering the saint's face. The body of St. John Neumann had last been vested in 1989. At that time, the body of the saint was clothed in a set of modern vestments cut in the Gothic style. On December 27, 2007, the body of St. John Neumann was vested with a set of high quality traditional Roman vestments, including a laced alb, stole, maniple, episcopal gloves, and traditional Roman fiddleback chasuble. The Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia, Justin Francis Rigali, was present to assist with the vesting.

Fire
On May 13, 2009, a fire broke out in the lower church. The podium, which sat inches away from the body, was reduced to dust. However, the body of St. John Neumann was left intact. The wax covering on his face did not show any signs of heat. The pastor, Fr. Kevin Moley, C.Ss.R. called it a miracle.

Jubilee Year
In 2011, the Redemptorists will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Neumann. The National Shrine of St. John Neumann will host several special events during the Neumann Year, which will close on June 23, 2012.