How remarkable that we will have the Heart of our Patron himself, St. John Berchmans! Augmenting our celebration will be Father
Carlos Martins, CC, and an exposition involving some 170 relics, including those of St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as the supreme highlight: one of the largest relics of the Church’s claim to the True Cross and a piece of the Veil that, according to sanctioned tradition, is believed to have belonged to Our Lady.
The Exposition of the Sacred Relics is not merely a unique presentation, but, for all those who attend, listen, touch and pray with the Saints, is a spiritually moving encounter with the Church Triumphant. (Please view the Treasures of the Church website.)
“The veneration of sacred relics, which has a long and unbroken history in the Church, is an important reminder to us of our communion of the Saints, of their intercession for us and of the final goal of our life in the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision. Over the past decades, the veneration of sacred relics has suffered neglect, and Father Carlos Martins, CC, is to be commended for the Treasures of the Church evangelization apostolate by which he not only makes sacred relics available for veneration, but also instructs the faithful on the true and proper devotion to the saints and the pious veneration of their sacred remains. It is not surprising that many who attend the expositions experience a renewal of faith and are deeply moved by their encounters with these treasures of the Church. It is my hope that many parishes will have the opportunity to host the exposition of the Treasures of the Church for the spiritual enrichment of their faithful.” His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
Teaching true and proper devotion to the Saints is an important element of our Catholic Faith. As models and intercessors, the Saints are our benefactors, aiding us with the example of their lives and by their prayers. Relics are a tangible source of solace to the faithful.
With priestly and apostolic zeal, Fr. Martins presents a thorough and passionate explanation on both the Church’s doctrine of the intercession of the saints and of the historic practice of the veneration of their sacred relics. His multi-media teaching on the Church’s use of relics that is scriptural, catechetical, and devotional, leading to a renewal of the Catholic faith for many people. After his presentation, the faithful are provided with an unparalleled opportunity to walk among the reliquaries, to touch them and thus to venerate the saints in a profoundly incarnational way. The intimacy of this encounter with the saints was an experience that more than one person described as ‘life-changing.’
The veneration of relics is a communion with the heroes of our Christian faith, asking for their powerful intercession. Many people have reported outstanding blessings and conversions through this ministry, and many have reported healings.
What are Relics?
Relics are physical objects that have a direct association with the saints or with Our Lord. They are usually broken down into three classes. First class relics are the body or fragments of the body of a saint, such as pieces of bone or flesh. Second class relics are something that a saint personally owned, such as a shirt or book (or fragments of those items). Third class relics are those items that a saint touched or that have been touched to a first, second, or another third class relic of a saint.
Scripture teaches that God acts through relics, especially in terms of healing. In fact, when surveying what Scripture has to say about sacred relics, one is left with the idea that healing is what relics “do.”
- When the corpse of a man was touched to the bones of the prophet Elisha the man came back to life and rose to his feet (2 Kings 13:20-21).
- A woman was healed of her hemorrhage simply by touching the hem of Jesus’ cloak (Matthew 9:20-22).
- The signs and wonders worked by the Apostles were so great that people would line the streets with the sick so that when Peter walked by at least his shadow might ‘touch’ them (Acts 5:12-15).
- When handkerchiefs or aprons that had been touched to Paul were applied to the sick, the people were healed and evil spirits were driven out of them (Acts 19:11-12).
In each of these instances God has brought about a healing using a material object. The vehicle for the healing was the touching of that object. It is very important to note, however, that the cause of the healing is God; the relics are a means through which He acts. In other words, relics are not magic. They do not contain a power that is their own; a power separate from God. Any good that comes about through a relic is God’s doing. But the fact that God chooses to use the relics of saints to work healing and miracles tells us that He wants to draw our attention to the saints as “models and intercessors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 828).