Dear Friends in Christ,
On Saturday, 22 of October 2022, at the 5.30pm Mass, our parish will welcome the first-degree
relics of St John Paul II and St Faustina Kowalska. The Mass will be presided over by the
Very Reverend Fr Peter Williams, Vicar General of the Diocese. The relics will be placed at the
Chapel of Divine Mercy (to the right side of the altar) and will remain there permanently for
What is the meaning of the veneration of the relics?
It can be said that the veneration of relics is an application of the prayer of intercession of the
saints for us. Not only do those in heaven pray with us; they also pray for us. In the book of
Revelation, St John sees that “the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a
harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev 5:8).
Thus, the saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.
The veneration of relics is not something new in the life of the Church. The account of St
Polycarp’s martyrdom (written in 156 AD) indicates, “We took up his bones, which are more
valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place,
where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together, as we are able, in gladness and joy
and to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom”. Also, in the fourth century St Jerome wrote,
“We venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore Him whose martyrs they are”.
Where in the Bible do we find the veneration of relics?
There are many examples of the use of relics in both the Old and the New Testaments. For
instance, we can think of the woman cured of a hemorrhage by touching the tassel of Christ’s
cloak (Mt 9:20-22); or the sick who were healed when Peter’s shadow passed over them (Acts
5:14-16). “And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or
aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits
came out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).
Of course, there are no magical powers in relics! Whether it be a bone of a saint or water from
Lourdes, the relics are the occasion for God to increase our devotion to Him.
On 30 April, 2000, when Pope John Paul II canonized St Faustina Kowalska, he declared: “This
is the happiest day of my life”.
Now, the relics of both these great saints are here to stay with us in our parish!
Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina, pray for us!