Category Archives: Sacramentals and Relics
Sacramentals and Relics
Sacramentals: The sacramentals that are most familiar to us are the rosary, the brown scapular, and the miraculous medal. They all have this in common: they are blessed, visible objects that the Church sanctions for holy uses in order to achieve through the merits of the faithful certain effects, mainly of a spiritual nature. Although, like the sacraments, they are visible signs of spiritual things, they do not confer sanctifying grace ex opere operato, but ex opere operantis. The conferring of sanctifying grace by a worthy reception of any of the seven sacraments is achieved by the operation of the act itself. Sacramentals, on the other hand, confer grace grace dependent on the subjective devotion of the individual using them. The more fervent the recipient is in using the sacramental, the greater the increase of grace.
Other commonly used sacramentals are holy water, blessed oil, blessed candles, various approved scapulars, and many approved medals, such as the St. Benedict Medal, which is the oldest and most highly indulgenced of all sacramental objects. But the term covers much more. Excepting the sacraments and the public prayer of the Church (divine office and five litanies) blessings of ashes and palms, blessed foods, and even the Confiteors and Creeds and the giving of alms can all be considered sacramental.
The Church has always honored the bodies of the faithful departed in her funeral and burial rites. Just as the body of the deceased is blessed and sprinkled with holy water, so, too, is the very ground in which the deceased is buried, a consecrated ground. All of this is to give reverence to the body of the faithful departed, which was once a temple of the Holy Ghost, and which will rise at the last day in immortal glory.
Our flagship article for sacramentals is Catholic Sacramentals — Gifts of Grace.
Relics: The bodies of the canonized saints or blesseds are more worthy of veneration because these bodies were employed in heroic acts of love of God and neighbor. They may be the saint’s entire remains (in some cases the body is incorrupt), or a part of the body. These are first class relics and they are often venerated in churches in glass sarcophagi or reliquaries. Second class relics are taken from the clothing of the saint. Third class relics can include anything touched by the saint. God often grants favors to those who venerate the relics of His saints, i.e., spiritual blessings and cures. Such favors, if they are miraculous, are God’s sign that the holy person is worthy of canonization.
Saint Anthony Chapel in Pittsburgh hosts over 5000 relics, including a piece of the True Cross, a Thorn from the Crown of Thorns, and those of many saints. The Abbey of Saint Benedict Center in Still River, Massachusetts, has a Relic Room with over 500 relics. It is called Saint James Room. I have visited it several times. A large number of these relics were … More →
UCANews: Close to four million pilgrims turned out to view the relics of Saint Francis Xavier during a 45-day exhibition in Goa, which concluded Sunday. The relics of the sixteenth-century missionary, presented at the “Exposition of the sacred relics of the St Francis Xavier”, are typically displayed just once a decade. On the final day, about 10,000 people waited in line for hours to take … More →
Padua, June 25 – The mayor of the northern city of Padua declared Wednesday that all public buildings must display a Catholic crucifix. “Now every office and every school will get a nice mandatory crucifix donated by the city. Hands off the crucifixes or you will be in trouble”, Mayor Massimo Bitonci, who is from the anti-immigrant Northern League party, wrote on his Facebook page. … More →
CNA: The Shrine to the Holy Face of Christ tucked into Italy’s Appennine mountains is starting to catch the attention of the world, particularly that of American Catholics. “We have a lot of Italians, of course, and many Germans but now we’re seeing more and more pilgrims from the U.S.,” said Sister Blandina Paschalis Schloemer, a Trappist nun and daily pilgrim that lives within eye-shot of … More →
National Catholic Register: For the first time and to coincide with the end of the Year of Faith, the Vatican is to put on public display the relics of St. Peter. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, announced the Vatican’s plans in a Nov. 8 article in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Recalling how many pilgrims have made … More →
And, on a lesser note, Red Sox romp over Detroit last night (September 4) 20-4. Here’s a picture of David Ortiz wearing what appears to be a red scapular. From Uni7Watch August 8, 2013 : Anyone know what that is around David Ortiz’ neck, from last night’s game, (good spot by Kris Hunt). In case anyone would like to know more about Scapulars. Comment Box: Steven Pindar: David … More →
[Part I] Given all the years that have passed, and despite all of this history, one might well wonder why we should care about the French Monarchy and its claimants. It has been gone, after all, for a long time. For that matter, why should its claimants and their partisans struggle so strenuously for it? The answer is several-fold. For Frenchmen, of course, the shadow … More →
The American in Paris of Traditionalist bent will, in addition to the usual sights, doubtless seek out the Traditional Mass at such churches as the SSPX’s Saint Nicolas-du-Chardonnet or else Versailles’ Notre Dame des Armees. After Mass, he will then notice a number of vendors of newspapers and magazines, mostly young. Some may — much to the Yankee visitor’s surprise — be sympathetic to the … More →
Medieval romances generally fell into four categories: the Matter of Rome, which dealt with such classical heroes as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar; the Matter of France, whose tales were inhabited by Charlemagne and such heroes as his nephew Roland; the Matter of Britain, which encompasses the Arthurian legends; and the Crusade Cycle, which dealt with the doings of Godefroi de Bouillon and his … More →
Vatican Insider: Here’s a clip from Palynologist Marzia Boi’s report: “The pollen traces on the Holy Shroud which have so far been linked to the geographic origin of the relic reveal what oils and ointments were put both on the body and on the sheet. These discoveries have an ethno-cultural meaning linked to ancient funeral practices. These non-perishable particles capture the image of a 2000-year-old … More →
These six martyrs were canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000. The martyrdom of Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado is highlighted in the movie For Greater Glory, the story of the Cristeros heroic resistance to the anti-clerical, masonic-supported persecution launched by the Mexican communist regime in the 1920s. The movie is due out next month. California Catholic Daily: Relics of six priests martyred during … More →
“Oh, good, Father. I’ve been waiting for you. I want to go to Confession. Here is the account of the witnessing priest. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The sacred tunic of Our Lord has only been exposed for veneration sixteen times since it was first displayed in 1521. The last exposition was in 1996. What a wonderful pilgrimage this would be to see the seamless robe of Jesus, woven by the hands of His Blessed Mother. Catholic Culture reports: Christ’s sacred tunic, housed in a reliquary at the cathedral in Trier, will … More →
Imagine. People had to wait in line in freezing cold for 24 hours. Yahoo News: Braving freezing cold temperatures and ice-covered sidewalks, tens of thousands of Russians stood in line Wednesday to see and kiss a newly arrived relic of the Virgin Mary in Russia’s largest Orthodox cathedral. Full report is here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
July 16 is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. There is something particularly wonderful about this feast, a double major liturgically, which makes it so embraceable for the faithful children of Mary. Perhaps it is the appealing simplicity of it, the maternal tenderness of it, as well as the magnanimous generosity of the promise. I used to be astonished when I was young … More →