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All Saints’ Day
November 1, 2020 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
On Sunday, November 1 — the Feast of All Saints — The Cathedral of The Most Blessed Sacrament will publicly display our relics of the 12 Apostles before Mass, from 10 AM till 10:45. Mass will begin at 11 AM. These sacred opportunities are open to the public for in-person, safe attendance; they will also be livestreamed.
Relics: What’s the deal?
What are relics?
Relics are items that are connected to a saint; they are categorized into three classes.
- A first-class relic is from the physical remains of a saint. This could be a piece of bone, a vial of blood, a lock of hair, a skull, or even a whole, incorrupt body.
- A second-class relic is any-sized piece of an item that the saint frequently used, like a rosary or tunic.
- A third-class relic is any item that touches a first or second-class relic.
It is believed that graces from God flow through these objects to devout souls who venerate them.
Wait, what? Is that even Scriptural?
Yes. The sacred use of physical objects related to a holy person dates back to the Old Testament. In this episode from 2 Kings, we witness the use of relics: “And so Elisha died and was buried. At that time of year, bands of Moabites used to raid the land. Once some people were burying a man, when suddenly they saw such a raiding band. So they cast the man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and got to his feet.” (2 Kings 13:20-21)
In the New Testament, we again see how God uses material objects to bring about healings. For example, in the Gospel of Mark, a woman is healed because she touches Jesus’ cloak: “She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’ Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.” (Mark 5.27-29) There are other examples in the lives of the apostles which demonstrate how God works miracles through items connected to His saints.
The early Church practiced the veneration of relics. A letter written after the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp in 156 AD explains how the faithful venerated his bones and took special care of them.
So do relics have power?
No. It is vital to remember that the actual object does not impart healing. A piece of cloth can’t heal someone from addiction. However, God has often chosen to employ a relic of a saint as an instrument of His healing, just like he used his cloak to heal the woman with the hemorrhage. The relic is a vehicle for God’s almighty and tenderhearted compassion.