Parishes to host teaching and exposition of relics this month

More than 150 sacred relics, some believed to be 2,000 years old, will be brought to two parishes of the Camden Diocese this month.

Father Carlos Martins, of the Companions of the Cross, will give a presentation and teaching at St. Stephen Parish, Pennsauken, Monday, May 23, and Our Lady of Hope Parish, Blackwood, Wednesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 26. All times are 7 p.m.

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 or second class relic of a saint.

Among the relics Father Martins will present are those of St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Faustina Kowalska.

In addition, there will also be present a piece of veil which is believed to have belonged to Our Lady, and one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross in the world.

The events are both educational and devotional.

Each exposition begins with a multi-media presentation on the church’s use of relics that is scriptural, catechetical and devotional. After the teaching, those in attendance have an opportunity to venerate the relics.

The Treasures of the Church website, www.treasuresofthechurch.com, emphasizes that relics are sometimes associated with healing, but they are not magical.

“They do not contain a power that is their own; a power separate from God,” the website states. “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).”

For more information visit www.treasuresofthechurch.com

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