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    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney

    As you know, he is a great guy.


    As the heart of a saint flew over the Atlantic Ocean Friday, the Rev. Charles Mangano hurriedly prepared his Merrick church for the relic's arrival.After a long day spent overseeing the cleaning of every inch of his 80-year-old church, Mangano was expected to meet late Friday night at an area airport with Guy Bagnard, the bishop of Belley, Ars-France, who carried with him the sacred relic that has only left France once before.

    Thousands are expected to flock to the Curé of Ars Church beginning Saturday to venerate the heart of St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, a French priest who died in 1859 at age 73. When his body was exhumed 45 years later, Vianney's heart was still intact. Those on hand will also be able to view the chalice that he used during his services, which drew hundreds of worshipers.

    Church volunteers spent much of Friday washing windows and floors, preparing for the throng of Roman Catholics that are expected to come to the church during the next four days. The church, at 2323 Merrick Ave., is bracing for particularly long lines Saturday.


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