St. John Neumann, patron saint of the parish of St. John Neumann, is the first male American citizen to be proclaimed a saint. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI on June 19, 1977, shortly before the new parish was officially established.
Born in Prachatitz, Bohemia March 28, 1811, Neumann studied at the diocesan seminary of Bedweis and later emerged from the University of Prague with a reputation for solid piety and a penetrating mind.
His zeal for the American missions brought him to New York City, where he was ordained priest in 1836. His special ministry to the many immigrants arriving in the country at that time reflected his deep concern for the unfortunate.
He became a Redemptorist Father in 1840, served as a rector of parishes in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and later became head of the Redemptorists in the United States. In 1852 Pope Pius IX named him fourth Bishop of Philadelphia; Neumann was 41.
With bold and ingenuity, Neumann turned his energy to building churches and schools, legislating for his priests and people at a time when Roman Catholics had little influence, and was the first prelate to organize a diocesan school system. Until his death on January 5, 1860, a deep personal love of God and a resolve to lead others to Him were the goals of St. John Neumann’ life.