What might that Apostle say to you?
In looking at the challenges in our world, I find the scriptures we will hearing over the next few days very exciting. We will be reminded of what happened on that very first Easter. When I pray with scripture, I love to visually enter the scene. I picture myself in the darkness as the sun begins to rise and I experience the dew on the grass just steps outside the empty tomb. I observe St. Mary Magdalene running up and panicking as she discovers the heavy stone has been rolled away, thinking the body has been stolen. I witness her scurry off to alert the others, and I watch as Sts. Peter and John soon arrive to see for themselves what had occurred. I also sit with the others who are locked in the upper room, and I encounter their fear firsthand. I sit near St. Thomas as he voices his doubts. Eventually, I experience their joy and sheer enthusiasm as they express to me what it was like to be greeted by the Risen Jesus and have him breathe the Holy Spirit upon them. I watch as they run off with a newfound mission and purpose.
As we look at the difficulties going on in our world and our lives, wouldn’t it be wonderful to sit with those amazing saints to whom Jesus first appeared and to bring them our requests and intentions? I wonder what they might say. I have good news; you are going to soon have that opportunity. Our Cathedral is a pilgrimage site for these saints.
What does that mean, you ask? When I first arrived as rector, I discovered a treasure trove of relics in different locations throughout the cathedral campus. What are relics? A first-class relic is from the physical remains of a saint (such as a piece of bone, a vial of blood, a lock of hair, or even a whole, incorrupt body). The veneration of relics is a practice that dates to the earliest years of Christianity. Over time, the practice of venerating relics grew, and in 787 the Second Council of Nicaea decreed that relics should be used to consecrate churches. St. John Damascene and St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the relics of the saints are gifts from God to the Church, given to us so we can improve our lives, and that they are signs of the saints who are close to God. These saints are members of the same Church in which we are members, and they intercede for us in heaven.
The Cathedral also has a collection of fourteen (7.5′ tall) statues created almost a century ago out of single trunks of trees. There are two angels, presently in the back of the sanctuary, and 12 Apostles. These grand images used to reside at St. Benedict Catholic Church in nearby Highland Park. We have designed a self-guided pilgrimage and are presently raising the funds to hang the statues and the bones of all the Apostles and St. Mary Magdalene within the Cathedral. Our goal is, within a year, to allow you and other pilgrims to “Journey with the Saints”, touch the relics and interact with those individuals whom Jesus appeared to on that first Easter morning. God does not expect us to meet life’s trials on our own. God wants us to depend on his grace through the intercessions of the Saints. Hopefully, after you have experienced the pilgrimage, like them, you too will run off with a newfound mission and purpose.
Please visit our website and check out the Arts and Culture link or go directly to our pilgrimage website, detroitsaintwalk.net to find out more info. Be assured of our prayers for you on your journey. But don’t forget to go to those amazing saints for support. Happy Easter!