Saturday, June 09, 2007

Article about a 1st class relic of St. Faustina. . . .

I had the honor to meet and get to know Father Willger during our recent Rome pilgrimage. (He's now at Holy Rosary Parish in Medford, WI) He and I have a mutual "new saint friend" in Heaven. I just came across this great article and thought it "blog worthy!" I finished reading the Diary of Saint Faustina in Feb of this year and I do believe it altered my life and gave me much pause. So many things to ponder about regarding her faith, her calling, her suffering physically and mentally and spiritually and how she offered up all of it for the many souls asking for Divine Mercy.

Anyway, I hope to get up to Wisconsin to visit Father Gerard and talk with him at length about our mutual friend who went to be with the Lord last July, 2006. A priest is A Priest Forever, and so, Father Kevin, I love you and am so thankful to have you to pray to in Heaven with St. Therese. I pray for your family and friends here on earth who were blessed to know you in person. We can tell a lot about someone by the friends he or she has, and I know Father Kevin was a wonderful, brilliant faithful servant of Jesus, because I know a couple of his friends on this earth were formed into the kind souls they are by knowing Father Kevin. I also know Father Gerard has been blessed to have been your good friend for many years. We all affect one another. We are all family. We are all the Family of God and how I cherish the friends I have! New and old. Alive here or more alive in Heaven. God be praised for giving us community and the blessed communion of Saints!


Parish obtains St. Faustina relic

An authentic relic of St. Faustina was blessed by Fr. Gerard Willger Oct. 6 at St. Peter Church in Cameron. During the ceremony, parishioners came forward to touch or kiss the relic. According to Willger the relic, stored in a cross-shaped vessel, is a 'first-class relic,' which means it is either a bone chip or part of the saint's body. (Photo by Mary Caton-Rosser)

CAMERON -- An authentic relic of St. Faustina was blessed after the First Saturday service at St. Peter Church in Cameron on Oct. 6. Those attending the ceremony had the opportunity to touch or kiss the relic, which contained bone fragments of the saint, encased in glass and mounted on a six inch high, cross-like pedestal.

St. Faustina was the first saint to be canonized by Pope John Paul II in the new millennium. St. Peter was the first new church to be dedicated in the Diocese of Superior in the new millennium. The events were far apart in distance, but close together in terms of time.

"This is a very important privilege to have a first class relic of St. Faustina," said St. Peter parishioner, Betty Liska. "It is really a blessing for this church and for our parish cluster." Liska added that the people of the parish of St. Peter have been observing Devotions to the Sacred Heart after the First Friday Masses for many years.

Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia (1991) says the earliest reference to relics is the account of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp in A. D. 156. The common belief that graces could be obtained through relics is mentioned by the Church Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries. By the 10th century, relics were placed in shrines and in reliquaries of churches which became centers of pilgrimage. Regulations governing the veneration of relics are contained in Canon 1190.

On Feb. 22, 1931, Sr. Faustina Kowalska of Poland saw a vision of Jesus with rays of mercy streaming from his heart. He asked Faustina to begin writing a diary so others would learn to trust in him.

Tony and Joy Ranallo from St. Anthony Parish in Cumberland attended the canonization ceremony held in Rome for St. Faustina in April, 2000. Afterwards, the couple participated in an 18-day seminar through Roman, Poland and Lithuanian sites where St. Faustina had visited.

"The Lord told St. Faustina that the rays of grace would pass through her to all people," Joy explained. "The promises of the Divine Mercy are enormous. Today we are very fortunate to have a first class relic in our church. The saints are our friends, interceding for us in heaven."

Ranallo added that based on all that is currently going on in the world, "it is a tremendous grace for us. Ask for mercy and trust in mercy."

After St. Peter's First Saturday Mass, Fr. Gerard Willger, pastor, presented the stamped, signed and documented relic to the parish. He explained that there are three classes of relics: first class, which are chips of the bones or part of the body of the saint; second class, which indicates some kind of direct contact with the saint; and third class, cloth touched by the saint or by a first class relic. Relics must not be bought or sold.

"The practice of saving relics is very normal and human," said Willger. "I handle many funerals each year. Many family members of the deceased want something from the deceased as a personal remembrance. Maybe they want Grandma's earrings or necklace, or Grandpa's watch or ring. The same is with our holy family, the church. We naturally desire something of the saint Ôholy person,' because it is personal and we remember fondly that saint's life. It should encourage all of us to live lives that are holy."

Willger also said the the Scripture calls us all to be saints, because these people lived their lives in extraordinary ways. "They are personal examples set before us to encourage us to grow in Christ."

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