May [St. John Vianney's] great humility be an example to you, dear young people, to live life as a gift of God; may his trusting abandonment to Christ the Saviour sustain you, dear people suffering illness, in the hour of suffering; and may his Christian witness give courage to you, dear newlyweds, to profess your faith without shame.”
Pope Francis
August 3, 2016
WORSHIP: The Intimate Encounter with Christ

Shrine of St. John Vianney

Only five years after Saint John Vianney was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in Rome, Father William Baldus, the pastor of Saint Mary Newport, established a shrine with the permission of Cardinal William Gibbons, the Archbishop of Baltimore. From that moment onward, the Newport shrine began attracting increasingly larger numbers of pilgrims, many of who travelled by bus from all parts of Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia. Many years later, Father James Grace wrote, “It seems to us more than a coincidence that the first shrine to the Saint in this country should have been started by a country pastor in a little rural church dedicated to Mary.” Not long after Father Baldus’ passing, an article appeared in the Maryland Independent about the shrine here at Saint Mary where it was reported “in this little church, in one of the oldest dioceses in the country, there have been performed recently cures that are well-nigh miraculous.”

America's first shrine to the Cure of Ars was rededicated by His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl on August 3, 2014 at a special Sunday Mass attended by parishioners, clergy, the Knights of Columbus, members of the Baldus family, representatives of historical societies and many other honored guests. At the conclusion of the rededication Mass the Cardinal led a procession to our cemetery where he blessed the grave of Father William Baldus, the pastor responsible for the shrine.

The shrine includes a nearly life-sized statue of Saint John donated by a New York benefactor and a first class relic of the Cure sent to Father Baldus by the then Cure of Ars in France.

The Shrine of Saint John Vianney is open daily (except for national holidays) from 8 a.m. until dusk. Come spend some time in quiet contemplation and enjoy not only the shrine but our other historic landmarks and our quiet country setting. Group days of recollection and group retreats (no overnights) are welcome.

In the late 1930's a special prayer pamphlet was created for the many pilgrims visiting the Shrine of Saint John Vianney. In celebration of the shrine's rededication we republished that booklet. Visitors may purchase a copy during their visit to the shrine or may download a complimentary copy of the Historic Commemorative Booklet here.

Special Information for Pilgrims
Pilgrims are welcome to visit the shrine every day of the week (except for national holidays). Everyone is welcome to spend as much time at the shrine as they wish. Please call if you need directions or information.

The grounds around the Shrine and Saint Mary Church are scenic and quiet, the perfect place for prayer and reflection. Visitors may wish to pray the Stations of the Cross in the cemetery, sit in the Saint Francis garden or simply walk the grounds.

Restrooms are available for our visitors.

We also welcome groups. In this case you may request a special Mass, or Confessions, or Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during your time here. We also have a small gift shop and can provide a light luncheon at a nominal fee. We have ample parking for busses.

For groups who may wish to have a day of recollection we also have a cozy conference room adjacent to the church equipped with a rest room, television and DVD player. Groups may also rent space in the Saint Francis Center, which has a large hall and classroom spaces. Availability and price upon request.

There are also a number of things of historic interest on our property:

The graves of the Merrick family, including the grave of a US Senator who served during the Civil War.

The grave of Thomas Jones, a Confederate spy who assisted John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated President Lincoln. Jones hid Booth and his companion in a marshy area nearby to help them elude Union soldiers.

The grave of a highly decorated member of the US Color Corps (Civil War)

The oldest existing pre-civil war building in the United States - one of our older churches constructed in 1840. It bears the distinction of being the "oldest" because it has never been renovated or restored.



Remembering the Souls in November

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Letter from Rev. Keith Woods, Parish Administrator

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Prayer to St. John Vianney for Parish Priests

Dear Saint John Vianney, your childhood dream was to be a priest, to win souls for God. You endured years of toil and humiliation to attain the priesthood. You became a priest truly after God's own heart, outstanding in humility and poverty; prayer and mortification. Totally devoted to the service of God's people.

The Church has exalted you as model and patron saint of all parish priests, trusting that your example and prayers will help them to live up to the high dignity of their vocation to be faithful servants of God's people, to be perfect imitators of Christ the Savior, who came not to be served but to serve, to give his Life in ransom for many.

Pray that God may give to his Church today many more priests after his own Heart. Pray for all the priests under your patronage, that they may be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd. May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance; be examples of humility and poverty; shining models of holiness; tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God; zealous dispensers of God's Grace in the Sacraments.

May their loving devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary his Mother be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.



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If you need a phone number to arrange for a replacement, kindly call the rectory at 301-934-8825


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