Relics of Saints

Throughout the Church, we honor men and women who have walked the earth like we do yet living lives of great holiness and closeness to God.  We visit their homelands, celebrate their feast days, and ask for their intercessory prayers in our lives.  We have patron saints for special needs that we encounter – illnesses, sufferings, loss of loved ones – and professions or roles that we fill – parents, firefighters, teachers.  In addition, we ask for their intercessory prayers that we may share in some of their holiness.    But what are relics and why do we honor them?

Relics are divided into three categories – first, second, and third-hand relics. First hand relics are something directly related to the saint, like a bone or hair.  Second class relics are objects that have touched the saint in some way – clothing, instrument of martyrdom, or something the saint touched when he or she was alive.  Third class relics are objects that have touched one of the first or second class relics

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First class relics are often found in the altars of churches.  Our church does not contain a relic because it is not a stationary altar, but most do contain relics inside them.

Any class of relics is used to bring that saint’s holiness into our lives in a more real tangible way.  When we understand that the saint is now with Christ, we realize that their bodies are holy, even after death.  God worked through the saints during their lives and even now continues to work through their bodies in death.  This earth is made more holy by our veneration of the saints in our lives – living and dead.

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