Heart of saint on display at churches in late April

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This story has been corrected by removing the word artifact.

A relic of the patron saint of parish priests will spend Mercy Sunday weekend in the Berkshires.

The object — the "incorrupt" heart of St. John Vianney of Ars, France — arrives April 27 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge.

At noon, the curio will be placed in the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine, where it will remain there until after the 4 p.m. Mass. The celebrant will bless the congregants by lifting the relic after the homily.

Later that day, there will be veneration of the relic from 7 to 9 p.m at St. Joseph's Church in Pittsfield before returning to the shrine in Stockbridge from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 28, Divine Mercy Sunday.

St. John Vianney, who died in 1859, was a dedicated pastor in Ars, France, who became known in particular as a confessor, often spending up to 16 hours a day listening to and absolving sins, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

The Shrine of Ars has made the relic available for its U.S. tour since November running through early June.

"St. John Vianney ... exemplifies the selfless dedication of a man who arrived in a town that was lax in its practice of the Catholic faith," Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said in statement. "Through his joy in celebrating Mass and hearing confessions, he stirred up a love and devotion in the townspeople for truly living out their faith. It is my hope that having this relic here for devotion and veneration that our local churches may follow St. John Vianney's example of love and faith."

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