Rev. George W. Rutler provides not just another biography of the saintly figure of Ars but instead weaves together both the details of St. John Vianney's life and the spiritual lessons most clearly garnered from the lives of saintly men and women.
As declared by Pope Benedict XVI, this is the Year for Priests which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney - a contemporary with another saintly Frenchman, Blsd. Basil Moreau, CSC.
The book is wonderfully written and quite inspiring. Two appendices are latched onto the book including the retreat texts given by the late John Paul II in Ars in 1986. From it we read:
It is true that the Council had the happy intuition of locating the ministerial priesthood again in the perspective of the apostolic mission within all the people of God. It prevented priests from making their priesthood an independent possession, detached from the people. It emphasized the fundamental task of proclaiming the Word, which prepares the ground for faith, and thus for the sacraments. It gave a better expression to the relationship between the priesthood of the priest and that of the bishop, and showed its relationship to the ordained ministry of the deacons and to the common priesthood of all the baptized, thanks to which all can and must have access to the riches of grace, and make their life a spiritual offering, bear witness to Christ in the world as disciples, and take their part in the apostolate and the services of the Church.
HOWEVER, precisely in order to exercise fully this prophetic, priestly, and royal role, the baptized need the ministerial priesthood. By means of it, in a privileged and tangible manner, the gift of the Divine life received from Christ, the Head of all the Body, is communicated to them. The more Christian the people become, the more they become aware of their dignity and of their active role in the Church, and the more they feel the need of priests who are truly priests. It would be ambiguous to organize the Christian communities as if they could very largely do without the priestly ministry.