Relics of The Fisherman unveiled: Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.”

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The nine pieces of bone sat nestled like rings in a jewel box inside a bronze display case on the side of the altar during a Mass commemorating the end of the Vatican’s yearlong celebration of the Christian faith. It was the first time they had ever been exhibited in public.

Pope Francis prayed before the fragments at the start of Sunday’s service and then clutched the case in his arms for several minutes after his homily. (AP)

Text and Photos

Editor’s note: For people of true faith, such evidence isn’t really necessary. For all the others, no amount of evidence is sufficient.

Suggested reading (FREE on-line): 

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The Bones of St. Peter
The First Full Account of the Search for the Apostle’s Body
by John Evangelist Walsh 

When the man named Simon Peter was brutally executed, some 1,915 years ago in Rome, there passed away one of that small band of historical personalities who deserve to rank as monumental. In history’s roll of the great in all fields – religionists, statesmen, philosophers, conquerors, educators, scientists – few others can have lived a life similarly fraught, for so long, with such constant, portentous drama. Beginning so obscurely, so humbly, was anyone before or since ever burdened with so weighty and improbable a task? Assuredly, no other has continued, ages after the earth closed over him, to command such deep regard among living multitudes, generation after endless generation.

In the minds – and hearts – of many people it is no small thing that some part of the mortal remains of this man, through whose living body there flowed the power from Jesus to heal the sick and raise the dead, may still be in existence. Even if he is viewed, as in this case he should be, not in a religious context but simply as the first leader of a movement which was to become a world-altering revolution, the question of the survival of his remains still exerts a powerful fascination. And for just over a decade now, precisely that claim has confronted the world.

In the summer of 1968 it was announced by Pope Paul VI that the skeletal remains of St. Peter had at last been found and satisfactorily identified. The revered bones had been unearthed some time before, he said, from the tangle of ancient structures that lay deep beneath the magnificent high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Paul was careful to explain that his statement rested on long and intensive study by experts, but then he deliberately went further, adding the weight of his own prestige. In light of the archaeological and scientific conclusions, he said, “the relics of St. Peter have been identified in a manner which we believe convincing … very patient and accurate investigations were made with a result which we believe positive.” Firmly persuaded as he was, he had felt it nothing less than a duty to make “this happy announcement” at the earliest possible moment.

The circumstance hat the bones were found under the basilica occasioned no great surprise, since the age-old tradition of the church had always located the original grave of the apostle just here. Yet to find that after so achingly long a time, and against all reasonable expectation, some part of this precious body should still be preserved, seemed incredible, a fit occasion for rejoicing. The day following the Pope’s announcement, in solemn ceremony led by Paul himself, the bones were restored to their ancient resting place. Since then, privileged visitors have regularly been allowed to enter the small, silent chamber beneath the high altar to pay homage to the Prince of the Apostles. Through a narrow opening in the repository, the bones themselves encased in several transparent receptacles, are just visible.

In releasing his statement, Paul had purposely kept to the essentials of the matter, leaving the details to be supplied to journalists and others by Vatican officials and those directly concerned in the discovery. When the full story reached print, however, in newspapers around the world, there was immediate and widespread puzzlement. In place of clarification there arose annoying clouds of confusion. At fault, to a large degree, was the intricate mass of archaeological data to be absorbed. But far more significant was a single hugely surprising fact: the bones had not been recently discovered, as the Pope had seemed to imply. On the contrary, they had first been found nearly thirty years before.

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Three major Christian relics that are supposed to have Christ’s Blood on them have blood-derived particles. All indicate type AB.

We have recently received correspondence wishing us to make an important point: that blood taken from the famous Shroud of Turin, thought to be the burial cloth of Christ, is reported to be Type AB.

This is fascinating because AB occurs in a small percentage of the populace — and AB is also the blood type in a Eucharistic miracle that occurred long ago — centuries ago — in Lanciano, Italy.

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St. Padre Pio relics, a new church, and a miracle of healing

St. Padre Pio relics, a new church, and a miracle of healing reported in Brownsville.

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No serious baseball fan would ever question the value of Catholic relics.

by Doug Lawrence

Anyone who ever attended a major league baseball game would be loathed to throw back a foul ball … let alone a genuine souvenir bat, cap, or glove, especially one that that was actually used by their favorite ball player.

These things serve as lasting remembrances of extremely rare, real-life events that remain dear to the heart of many, many fans for a long, long time. They also inspire many a great story.

So it is with authentic Catholic relics … only more so … since such things serve to remind us of the true realities of our faith, the work of Jesus Christ, the apostles, martyrs and saints, and the love of God.

While the ranks of professional baseball players have always been quite small, and the length of their careers short … it remains quite possible, with the help of the church, for anyone to become a saint … and remain so eternally!

All the more reason authentic Catholic relics should inspire us to greatness, in Christ.

For those who are religiously opposed to such things, please take a look at the recent 9-11 remembrances, erected all around the country, which used many types of architectural details, flags, and other remnants from the twin towers, to effectively and permanently commemorate what happened there.

Idolatry? Heck no!

Souvenirs, memorials and relics serve to remind us of important truths and events, by bringing very real parts of the past, into the present day.

In that respect, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is without equal, since it is there that Jesus Christ becomes present on the altar for us, under the sacramental auspices of bread and wine, making present the one time, once for all, perfect and eternal sacrifice, who redeemed us from eternal slavery to Satan, sin, and death.

And while baseballs and home run kings constitute essential elements of America’s pastime, Jesus Christ is without a doubt, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and mankind’s greatest hero of all time … with all of the saints faithfully “lined up” right behind him.

That’s what we Catholics remember at every Mass, and that’s what we Catholics remember when we venerate relics of the saints.

Now … Play Ball!

Ask Alice: How to treat a 1st class relic (one you’re not currently married to.)


Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Joan asks: I have in my possession a 1st class relic of Blessed Seelos and need to know how to take care of it when it is not being used by someone in special need.  What is the best paper back book on Saints (one that gives  a detailed account of Saints lives. )

Alice replies: How fortunate you are to have a first class relic of the New Orleans priest, dubbed the “cheerful saint” who was blessed with the gift of healing. If the Blessed Seelos relic is contained in a reliquary (relic case) you can keep it in any little box on your dresser. If the relic is simply affixed to a small paper or cloth, you can place the relic inside a clear plastic box.

An excellent paperback about saints’ lives is: Saint of the Day (5th revised edition) by Leonard Foley, O.F.M. and Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. (2003) ISBN 0-86716-535-9.  Another fine paperback is titled: The Saints from A to Z, by Cynthia Cavnar (2000) ISBN 1-56955-190-1.

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Joseph asks: Today is November 26, and a terrorist killed more than 100 people, calling them unbelievers and believing that by killing, God will reward them. How can one Love such people????

Alice replies:

I am very sorry to learn of the 100 innocent people who lost their lives on November 26. Your question is one of the biggest challenges of our faith.

One of my favorite scripture passages is (Luke 6:27-28) where Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who maltreat you.”

Forgiveness is a vital component of love. It is the fabric from which miracles are fashioned.

As Jesus was dying, He forgave the repentant thief on the cross. St. Stephen, the first martyr, forgave the people who stoned him.

Ten years ago, Jennifer Bishop Jenkins taught me a lesson about loving one’s enemies: With God’s grace, Jennifer forgave the teen who brutally murdered her sister Nancy, her brother-in-law, and the couple’s unborn child.

As she lay dying Nancy wrote, “I (heart) YOU” in her own blood, on the wall of the couple’s townhouse.
Gradually, Jennifer realized that Nancy left her family a message of love to guide them for the rest of their lives.

Jennifer’s story changed my life forever. If Jennifer could forgive the unrepentant teen who murdered her beloved Nancy and her family, how can I not forgive people for everything they’ve done against me?

As human beings, we are naturally incapable of forgiveness. It is only with God’s grace that we can forgive others. “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

Forgiveness is a process. When I ask God for the grace to forgive an enemy, He always answers my prayer. Please pray for the souls of the 100 victims who died on November 26, and pray for their murderer(s) as well. In this way you provide relief for their souls and heal your own heart, as well.

Doug Lawrence adds: Forgiveness is the true test of love. Jesus commanded Christians to love God and love our neighbors. Yet, unless an offender sincerely apologizes and makes amends, forgiveness appears to remain optional. And when it comes to matters of life and death (as in self-defense) it’s sometimes necessary for we Christians to preserve our rights (and our lives) by use of the “sword”.

The Catholic Church has formulated doctrines to guide us in such matters, but there are really no invariable, hard and fast rules to go by … other than the commandment mentioned above.

In an earlier post (on a different matter) Msgr. Charles Pope explained things this way: We do not love merely with good results in mind, we love unconditionally, as God does. God loves because God is love and that’s what Love does, He loves. And so to for us, called to be possessed of God’s love, we love. We risk  to love. The Lord was killed for the love he had for us. We do not love merely to get something from it, we simply love. Others may accept or refuse our love, but as for us we love. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16).

Christians also need to believe that God will restore whatever we might (temporarily) lose, by faithfully acting as “other Christs”. (Nobody ever said the Christian life would be easy.)

Forgiving, like love, is fundamental to our faith. Once we make up our mind to do it, just because Jesus asked, the matter should be settled. And from a purely practical point of view, when we refuse to forgive, we provide God with an exceedingly strict rule, by which to judge our personal soul:

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

Attempted theft of Padre Pio reliquary thwarted


Rome, Italy, Aug 9, 2010 / 09:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A gold reliquary containing Padre Pio relics was the apparent object of thieves’ interest on Sunday evening. Sacrilege has been ruled out by a Capuchin spokesperson, as the attempt was likely for the gold, not the relics themselves. Embedded in the altar of a chapel in the San Giovanni Rotondo cemetery in Italy is a glass and gold reliquary that contains some hair, wrappings that would have covered the saint’s pierced side, and a pair of gloves, reported Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

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Mother Teresa relics being displayed in Gary, Indiana

Relics belonging to Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa will be displayed this weekend at a Catholic church in Gary.

The Albanian nun’s crucifix, rosary beads, sandals and other items will be displayed for public after a Mass on Saturday at St. Mark’s Church. Mother Teresa devoted her life to the sick and poor of India and the items are being taken on tour across North America to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth.

The Missionaries of Charity order of nuns that she founded has a convent house connected to the Gary church. Mother Teresa died in 1997.

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