Relic of St. John Paul II will tour Diocese

By Megan Marley

During life, St. John Paul II logged more than 700,000 miles and visited 129 countries during his 27 years of papacy, states his biography on the USCCB website.

After death, he’s still encountering persons and racking up the miles, through a traveling first class relic of his blood. Now he’s coming to the central United States.

The relic of St. John Paul II will be visiting parishes and high schools in the diocese Oct. 16-18, with additional stops Oct. 19 in Overland Park in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas during its year-long pilgrimage of the Americas. Those who come venerate the relic are given holy cards to touch to the first class relic of the pontiff, the cards becoming a third class relic.

“Everyone goes home with a little piece, let’s say, of the blessing they came to encounter. It is truly very beautiful,” said Sister Ana Pia Cordua of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a religious institute founded in the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida to whom the relic is entrusted by the postulator of John Paul II’s cause.

The relic makes its first stop in Kansas City Oct. 16 at St. Therese, North parish, starting with 9 a.m. Mass and veneration until 11 a.m.; it then goes to Our Lady of Good Counsel in the Westport area of Kansas City for 1 p.m. Mass and veneration until 3:30 p.m., then to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City for 6 p.m. Mass with the bishop and veneration until 9 p.m.

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the relic makes private visits to St. Pius X High School in Kansas City from 8:30-11 a.m. and St. Michael the Archangel High School in Lee’s Summit from 1-3 p.m., then a public visit to the Hispanic community at Holy Cross parish in Kansas City at 5 p.m., concluding with Mass in Spanish at 7 p.m.

The relic travels north to St. Joseph on Wednesday, Oct. 18 for a private visit to Bishop LeBlond High School from 9:30 a.m. -12 p.m., then public veneration at Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph from 2-4:30 p.m. and again with 6 p.m. Mass and veneration to 8 p.m.

On Oct. 19, the relic visits the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, stopping at Queen of the Holy Rosary parish in Overland Park, Kan., for 8:15 a.m. Mass and veneration to 2 p.m. and to Holy Cross parish in Overland Park, Kan. at 4 p.m. for veneration until a 7 p.m. Mass.

“Everyone who wants to venerate the relic is most welcome,” said Norma Molina, associate director of the Office of Discipleship and Faith Formation and lay member of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who has helped coordinate the relic’s visit. “Bishop Johnston requested we take it to all three of the high schools of the diocese, and in the churches we will go it will be open to the public.”

She also explained that while visits to the high schools are for the schools only and the visit to St. Therese, North gives priority to the school children, the general public has great opportunities to visit during afternoons and evenings.

This first-class relic is one of the few blood relics of St. John Paul II from his last hospitalization, taken shortly before his death on April 2, 2005.

“Usually when you take a sample of blood in a hospital, the remaining blood that is not used for further tests is supposed to be discarded. But, there was a sister in the hospital taking care of him, and she kept two vials of blood. After his death, she gave it to the postulator of the cause,” Sister Ana Pia explained. She also said that those vials of blood were later divided into smaller relics, one being the traveling relic lent out by the postulator Monsignor Oder, and the rest enshrined in Rome and Poland.

The relic is encased in a unique reliquary: a white and gold book of the Gospels with the pages slightly turned, reminiscent of the book of the Gospels placed on the late pontiff’s casket during his funeral. The relic itself also has unique properties.

“The miracle with this is that that blood has remained liquefied—it has no chemicals to keep it either coagulated or to keep it liquid. It’s really a miracle that the blood of John Paul II is ‘live’,” Molina said.

The sisters note that visiting the relic is quite a touching experience.

“It’s incredible how much John Paul can move hearts, and he was a pope of encounter,” Sister Ana Pia said. “And he still comes; he’s still traveling around encountering the faithful—which was so much a part of his pontificate—to go out and visit his people, and he is continuing that legacy through his relic.”

Visitors come bringing their hopes and prayers, occasionally even receiving healings of health issues, from infertility to near-death health situations.

Before Hurricane Irma hit Florida on Sept. 10, the sisters brought the relic north for its safety and to continue its tour engagements, and made an unscheduled visit to a hospital.

“There was a young woman who had a very fatal accident, she had been about two weeks in a coma and she had not had almost any signs of life and they were about to turn off the machine,” Sister Ana Pia said. “She came back and she is on her way to recovery in a manner which the doctors cannot understand. Those kinds of miracles are happening constantly, as the relic pilgrimages from one diocese to another.”






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October 31, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph