Like all of us, Peter Julian Eymard [pronounced A-mard] was conditioned by his cultural background as well as by the sociopolitical atmosphere of his time.
Struggle to Become a Priest
Peter Julian Eymard’s road to the priesthood, as well as his life as a priest, was marked by the cross. On July 20, 1834, at 23 years of age, Eymard was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Grenoble.
Devotion to Mary
All his life Peter Julian had an intense devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. It was Eymard’s work for the Society of Mary that put him in contact with the various currents of eucharistic piety that were flowing in the French Church.
Peter and the Eucharist
Other eucharistic communities and organizations were springing up throughout France. Eymard’s intuition about the Eucharist was not limited merely to the worship of the holy sacrament but to actively reach out to those who were estranged from the church and to evangelize them. Father Eymard directed his ministry firstly to the children and young workers that made up a large segment of the labor force of Paris.
Three years prior to his death, Fr. Eymard made a long retreat in Rome. During this retreat, he was powerfully struck by the force of Christ’s love within him – a love he felt taking over his whole person. Anticipating the renewal of the Church brought about by Vatican Councils I and II, Eymard had a vision of priests, deacons, sisters, and lay people living lives of total dedication to the spiritual values that are celebrated and contemplated in the Eucharistic celebration and in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope St. John Paul II declared St. Peter Eymard, “Apostle of the Eucharist.”
St. Peter Julian Eymard, pray for us, that we would discover Jesus in the Eucharist and become close friends with Him.