The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine announced to Historic City News that an official relic of Blessed Pope John Paul II, containing a vial of the late Pontiff’s blood, will be received on Monday, November 11th.
The relic that the Cathedral will receive for the visitation is encased in a white and gold cloth surrounding the Book of the Gospels.
“This is a special and unique blessing for the Cathedral and the entire Diocese of St Augustine,” the Cathedral’s rector, Fr. Thomas Willis, explained. “With Blessed John Paul’s canonization by Pope Francis at the end of April next year, to be able to have a first-class relic of the Blessed in the Cathedral is a grace-filled moment for us. So many people loved him during his pontificate. Now, they will have an opportunity to have a spiritual closeness to him.”
The relic contains a small amount of blood that was drawn from Pope John Paul II in the days prior to his death in April 2005 in case a transfusion was necessary. In 2012, the Vatican Press Office announced that the vials had been saved by an administrator at one of Rome’s hospitals because he considered the late Pope a holy man.
The vials were, in turn, given to John Paul’s personal secretary, Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz. Since then, the Holy See’s Office of Liturgical Celebrations has placed the vials in various reliquaries for veneration by the faithful.
During the course of the history of the Catholic Church, some relics are said to have brought about miraculous cures. Fr. Willis says the real reason for the veneration of the relics of the saints is so that we can be reminded that the life of the saint can be an inspiration for faithful living in our time.
“That’s what the saints are for us,” Fr. Willis continued, “men and women, boys and girls who have lived lives of heroic virtue. Their lives, in turn, inspire us to rise above our human limitations to live the life of Christ who is our ultimate inspiration and the world’s Savior.”
The relic will be welcomed at a special Mass on November 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the Cathedral. Other services that day include the praying of the Angelus and the Rosary at 12:00 noon and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00 p.m. In the evening, the rosary will be prayed at 6:30 followed by Mass at 7:00. Following each service, the faithful will be given an opportunity to venerate the relic and ask Blessed John Paul II for his intercession.