National Shrine of Saint John Neumann

The National Shrine of St. John Neumann is a Roman Catholic National shrine dedicated to St. John Neumann, 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 construction of the main church began in 1843.

National Shrine of
Saint John Neumann
St. Peter the Apostle Church
National Shrine of St. John Neumann 02.jpg
Location1019 N. Fifth St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
DenominationCatholic Church
StatusNational Shrine/Parish church
Founded1842 (St. Peter the Apostle Parish)
Founder(s)Rev. Louis Cartuyvels, C.Ss.R.
DedicatedFebruary 14,1847
Relics heldJohn Neumann
Architect(s)Joseph Koecker
StyleRomanesque Revival
Completed1847, 1897 (rebuilt)
Number of spiresone
Spire height230 feet (70 m)
MaterialsPort Deposit granite
Priest(s)Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

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.


St. Peter the Apostle Church

When Bishop Neumann died suddenly in 1860 he was buried, as requested, at St. Peter's Church beneath the undercroft floor directly below the high altar.[1]

Pope Paul VI beatified Neumann during the Second Vatican Council and declared him a saint in 1977. The undercroft at St. Peter the Apostle Church underwent several renovations after Neumann's initial interment. The space served for years as the lower church of St. Peter the Apostle parish and eventually became the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann after his canonization. The body of the saint lies in a glass-enclosed reliquary under the main altar. It is dressed in the episcopal vestments with a mask covering the face.

Interior of the Upper church

The saint's body has undergone multiple vestment changes since it was first displayed at the time of his beatification. In 1989, during the course of a major renovation of the shrine, the body of the saint was clothed in a set of modern vestments cut in the Gothic style.[2] On December 27, 2007, the body received a new mask and was clad with a set of 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.[3]


Fire broke out in the lower church on May 13, 2009. The pulpit, located near the body, was reduced to ashes, but the body of the saint was left intact. The plaster covering over the face did not show any signs of heat. The pastor, Fr. Kevin Moley, C.Ss.R., called it miraculous.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Allman CSSR, Matthew. "The National Shrine of Saint John Neumann", Ligurian, January 1, 2015
  2. ^ Brennan, Kathy (November 9, 1989). "Saint's Image Beautified Body Of St. John Neumann Gets New Mask & Vestments". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "New vestments for St. John Neumann mark his feast day". The Catholic Review. January 22, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Chicoine, Christie L. (May 28, 2009). "Fire Singes Shrine". The Catholic Standard & Times. Retrieved September 19, 2014.

External linksEdit

  Media related to St. Peter the Apostle Church - National Shrine of St. John Neumann at Wikimedia Commons

39°58′09″N 75°08′42″W / 39.969203°N 75.14505°W / 39.969203; -75.14505