Sunday, July 4, 2010

What is a relic?

A relic is a body or body part of a saint or an object that is associated with a saint.

There are three classes of relics: the first is the body or body part of a saint; the second is a piece of clothing or something used by a saint; and a third-class relic is an item that has been touched to a first-class relic.

Relics have had a long and meaningful role in the history of the Catholic Church because a saint or holy person is seen as an instrument of God, making that person’s remains worthy of reverence. Relics, however, are not items to be worshipped or idolized. They are, in the words of St. Jerome, an early Church Father, venerated “in order to better adore Him whose martyrs they are.”

Today relics continue to serve as visual reminders of a grace-filled life of that individual, which in turn inspire and encourage others to live lives of virtue.

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