I would like to be able to list the parish priests who have been canonized in the Catholic Church. However, at present, I only have two names: (1) St. John Vianney, and (2) St. Ivo of Kermartin.

Are there any others (parish priests never made bishops or higher) recognized as Saints in the Catholic Church? Does anyone know of an exhaustive list, or is the above it?

  • 1
    I doubt you will find an exhaustive list, but this book may familiarize you with many of them, and it appears to be free to borrow in an e-book format. openlibrary.org/books/OL6246378M/Diocesan_Priest_Saints
    – jaredad7
    Mar 8, 2023 at 0:51
  • @jaredad7 Many Saints have been parish priests, such as St. Pius X, who is on the cover of the book in your link, but the question specifies "parish priests never made bishops or higher", which narrows down the list considerably. Based on an answer just posted, it sounds like the two specified in the question might possibly be the whole list.
    – user60376
    Mar 8, 2023 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


Parish Priests Who Have been Canonized in the Catholic Church?

Some years ago, I came to the conclusion that there are only two parish priests who have been canonized by the Catholic Church: St. John Vianney and St. Ivo of Kermartin.

That said, it is not impossible that there are parish priests that will one day be canonized as martyrs as a result of the vast number of priests martyred in the Nazi persecutions in Europe during the course of World War II.

In all, an estimated one third of German priests faced some form of reprisal in Nazi Germany and 400 German priests were sent to the dedicated Priest Barracks of Dachau Concentration Camp. Persecution of the Church in Germany was at its most severe in the annexed Polish regions. Here the Nazis set about systematically dismantling the Church and most priests were murdered, deported or forced to flee. Of the 2,720 clergy imprisoned at Dachau from Germany and occupied territories, 2,579 (or 94.88%) were Catholic. - Nazi persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany

One example to consider is Blessed Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski:

In Toruń he was responsible for the parish press and from 1 July 1938 was the vicar of the Assumption parish church. In 1938 he became the leader of the Old Scouts and the chaplain of the scout district of Pomerania.

The Gestapo arrested him on 11 September 1939 along with all parish priests in his area and released most of them save for him on 12 September. On 18 October 1939 and he was imprisoned in the Fort VII camp on a temporary basis before being sent on 8 January 1940 with around 200 prisoners to another camp. On 10 January 1940 he was sent to the concentration camp at Stutthof and then later on 6 April to Grenzdorf and Sachsenhausen before being sent to Dachau as his final destination on 13 December 1940.

Frelichowski contracted typhus while tending to prisoners who had the disease and he also contracted pneumonia. He died on 23 February 1945 and his remains were lined in a white sheet decorated with flowers before he was cremated. But before that the prisoner Stanisław Bieniek made a death mask and a cast of the late priest's right hand.

I am equally sure that some day we shall see some parish priests canonized that come from the Martyrs of Spain's Civil War.

Eventually there will some parish priests that will be be canonized who were martyred under Communist regimes and other political motivated persecution against the Church.

In time there will be more canonized parish priests!

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    Hopefully, martyred priest, Bl. Jerzy Popiełuszko, whom, as a priest in Warsaw, served in both regular and student parishes---will be among them.
    – user60376
    Mar 8, 2023 at 1:48
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    There's also Josef Toufar, tortured and murdered by the communists, whose beatification process is currently underway. Mar 8, 2023 at 14:24
  • Why doesn't Padre Pio of Pietrelcina qualify? He was a priest and though later he later served as a friar for most of his life, he did perform the services of a parish priest before that. And AFAIK, was never higher than a priest and was canonized on June 16, 2002. Mar 8, 2023 at 15:25
  • @RBarryYoung Padre Pio was a Capuchin Friar who lived in a Capuchin convent and not a parish. Parish priests are appointed by the local diocesan bishop Can Law 519. Padre Pio thus was never a parish priest! He simply aided in a parish due to health reasons.
    – Ken Graham
    Mar 8, 2023 at 15:34
  • @KenGraham as I mentioned, he was ordained a priest in 1910 and he did serve a parish before he was ordered to the friary in 1916 (presumably for health reasons). He never lost his priesthood and also never became a bishop or higher. As far as I know, being a Capuchin by itself does not prevent you from being a priest or serving a parish. (I know one today). Mar 8, 2023 at 15:41

Working from the assumption that Ken came to the correct conclusion a number of years ago when he investigated the question for himself, my recommendation would be to examine the list of male saints canonized by Pope Francis, as I have found three already in this list who would appear to qualify, Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, who joined the Dominican Third Order, which is open to Catholics in any state of life, which in my opinion should not disqualify him, Alfonso Maria Fusco, who you may or may not count, since he helped to found a religious women's order only, and Ambrósio Francisco Ferro, who was a Brazillian secular parish priest and martyr. At the very least, Ferro must count, but as he was only canonized in 2017, Ken's investigation may have pre-dated his canonization. Interestingly, this is the precise kind of situation that Ken calls out as possibly creating future priest saints: martyrdom.

  • Thank you for adding this post.
    – DDS
    Mar 8, 2023 at 22:11

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