Celebrating Saint Philip Neri

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by Patricia Mathson

Saint Philip Neri

Joyful Person

Feast Day: May 26

[CLICK HERE] for a fun activity page about St. Philip Neri.

Philip was born in 1515. As he grew up, he developed a great sense of humor, and he liked to laugh. He was a very cheerful person, and people liked to be around him. Philip found joy in each day. He had great faith in God and shared the Good News of God’s love with others.

Person of Prayer

Philip left his job as a tutor to minister to Catholic pilgrims who came to Rome and to help people who were sick. He even started a new hospital. Philip was a person of prayer. He also gathered others for prayer each day.

Apostle of Rome

Philip decided to become a priest and was ordained in 1550. He taught those who gathered around him to follow Jesus and serve others, especially those who were sick. He is called the Apostle of Rome because he lived most of his life in Rome and shared the love of Jesus with other people there.

Example for Us

The life of Philip Neri shows us that we should live our lives with joy as we serve the Lord. We are called to share the Good News and bring hope and joy to the lives of other people. We should try to be generous and kind to others as this saint was.

What Can We Do?

* Let’s talk about how St. Philip Neri is an example for us. Why would his sense of humor and his joy draw people to him? What might have made St. Philip so joyful? What are ways we can find joy in each day? How can we bring joy into sharing our faith with others?

* Let’s look up Bible stories about the compassion of Jesus for people who were sick. One story in Mark 1:40-45 is about a person with the disease of leprosy who came to Jesus. We can pray that God will help us find ways to be people of compassion.

* Let’s use markers to draw pictures of ways we can help people who are sick at home, in hospitals, or in care centers. Then we can share our pictures and ideas with one another and with our families.


Loving God, help us to live in joy like Philip Neri. May we share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. Guide us to bring hope and joy to the lives of others through our words and actions. Amen.

Patricia Mathson has many years of experience in faith formation as a DRE and holds a MRE degree from the University of Dallas. She is the children’s ministry coordinator at Hope Family Center in Des Moines, IA. She is the author of many books including Plant the Seed: Sharing the Gospel with Children (Liguori Publications).

Copyright 2012, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.

This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, March 2012.

Image Credit: Shutter Stock 544541167

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