Not magic

Priest brings 150 relics of the saints to three parishes in the San Francisco archdiocese, explains their role in the Catholic faith

People venerate relics of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and the Apostles in St. Bruno Church Dec. 10. (Photo by Nicholas Wolfram Smith/Catholic San Francisco)

Three years ago, Church of the Epiphany parishioners Bea Zamora and husband Deacon Chito Zamora, first approached a priest about bringing his traveling relics exposition to the Bay Area. This December, their hope was fulfilled, as Companions of the Cross Father Carlos Martins visited three parishes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco with 150 relics of the saints.

“It’s a very blessed event, and an opportunity for many graces,” Bea Zamora told Catholic San Francisco. “We want the whole world to be able to go.”

In presentations at St. Bruno, St. Francis of Assisi and Church of the Epiphany, Father Martins discussed the church’s teaching on relics and their place in the Christian life. There are three classes of relics: fragments of the body, something a saint personally owned, and something a saint touched or that touched a relic of the saint.

Relics show the holiness of the body, Father Martins said, and also reflect the early history of the church, when Mass would be said over the tombs of saints.

Relics have long been linked to miracles, like in the Gospels where a woman was healed by touching Christ’s cloak. Father Martins said the Bible illustrates that “God brings about healing using a material object that is touched.”

But relics do not have any intrinsic power. “They are not magic,” he said. Instead, they are one means God uses to heal people, and draw attention to the saints.

Even without bringing physical healing, venerating the relics can bring emotional or spiritual healing, Bea Zamora said.

“We need all kinds of healing, even the people who look fit and healthy. There’s a lot of brokenness out there,” she said.

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.

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