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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For the Year of Faith, ‘Five Things Catholics Should Know About the Catechism’

The pope has encouraged Catholics to study the Catechism as part of the Year of Faith. Alissa Thorell, catechism specialist for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, offers “Five Things Catholics Should Know About the Catechism” to help Catholics better understand this book and its significance in their faith.

Read all five

Year of Faith Begins

Today (10/11/2012) marks the beginning of the Year of Faith.

The year will last from October 11th, 2012 to November 24th, 2013.

The year is intended to help believers to “rediscover” and to deepen their relationship with Christ through Faith.

As seen in the links below a number of publications, events and information have been made public to guide believers through this journey.

To see some of the resources provided by the Year of Faith or to see if there is an event near you, click below:

Home page of the Year of Faith 

USCCB page on the Year of Faith

Video of Pope Benedict and the Year of Faith 

Videos about the Year of Faith

This Post Courtesy of Maria Kaufmann – Turtle Bay and Beyond

Bishop Ricken Offers ‘10 Ways Catholics Can Live The Year Of Faith’

Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offers “10 Ways Catholics Can Live the Year of Faith.” Rooted in guidelines from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, some of these suggestions are already requirements for Catholics; others can be embraced by Catholics at all times and especially during the Year of Faith…

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Vatican unveils logo, hymn and calendar for Year of Faith

The Vatican’s has unveiled the calendar, logo and official hymn for the Year of Faith, which begins with Mass on October 11 in St Peter’s Square.

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