Photo by Mary Grace Byers
By Donovan Roudabush
Franciscan University of Steubenville students, faculty and visitors filled the Finnegan Fieldhouse Wednesday evening to see a traveling exposition of 165 relics.
The Rev. Carlos Martins, a member of the Companions of the Cross, manages Treasures of the Church, a worldwide traveling relic exposition that included mostly first-class relics. Martins spoke briefly to those gathered before veneration began. He said relics are important in the Catholic faith and miraculous benefits can come from the veneration of relics.
Martins said there was a plenary indulgence for those attending the exposition, provided the normal conditions were met — detachment from sin, a recent confession and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Martins said true contrition is necessary for a valid confession, sharing the story of St. Maria Goretti and Alessandro Serenelli. Despite brutally murdering St. Maria, Serenelli was able to grow in sanctity through repentance and retired to a quiet life among the Capuchin friars, Martins said.
Lines formed throughout the gymnasium to gaze on the various reliquaries. The longest lines were for a relic of the true cross, a fragment of the crown of thorns, a piece of the Virgin Mary’s veil, a piece of St. Joseph’s cloak, a piece of the crib which held the baby Jesus and a sliver of the holy lance. Relics of St. Therese and St. John Paul II also had long lines of people waiting to venerate.
“My favorite part (about the exposition) is getting people (to) experience … the living God, whereby they are able to encounter Him through the sacred remains of the saints — whether that comes from a healing they experienced or just their heart being touched, or just an experience of conversion,” Martins said.
Visitors remained until 11 p.m., often circling back to the same relics as the long lines allowed the faithful to look at the relics for only 15 seconds at a time.