The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy has obtained a small cloth soaked in Pope John Paul II’s blood — the only church in the United States to have such a relic and one of three globally, including the Vatican.

Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, the Marians’ provincial superior, made the announcement after Sunday Mass, on the eve of the first anniversary of John Paul’s beatification in Rome on May 1, 2011. The cloth is about a half-inch square.

Eventually, Chwalek plans to permanently display the cloth in the shrine, once a marble case where it will be placed is complete.

“We are so pleased about this recent gift, and cannot wait to to share with all who wish to view it,” Chwalek said.

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Editor’s note for those who can’t seem to understand the significance of relics: “And Eliseus (the Prophet Elisha) died, and they buried him. And the rovers from Moab came into the land the same year. And some that were burying a man, saw the rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life and stood upon his feet.” (2 Kings 13:20-21)