Special to The Message
Some of you might be familiar with the traveling exhibit of relics called "Treasures of the Church." This is a Catholic ministry of evangelization directed by Father Carlos Martins; its purpose is to give people an experience of the living God through an encounter with the relics of His Saints in the form of an exposition. Inspired by this ministry, Christ the King Parish in Ferdinand, which includes St. Ferdinand and St. Henry churches in Dubois County, recently held a smaller version of this exposition of relics.
Jack Tuinier, Director of Youth Ministry and Faith Formation for Christ the King Parish, arranged the exposition as part of the parish’s regular high-school religious-education program. Relics included were collected through the generosity and cooperation of the parishes of the Diocese of Evansville’s East Deanery and Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand. Other relics were on-loan from the personal collection of Bishop Joseph M. Siegel.
Relics are of three kinds:
First Class relics are the body, or fragments of the body, of a Saint (e.g. pieces of bone, hair, or flesh).
Second Class relics are something that a Saint personally owned (e.g. a shirt or book, or fragments of those items).
Third Class relics are items that a Saint touched or that have been touched to a first, second or another third class relic of a Saint. Thus, touching a rosary, medal or holy card to a relic makes that particular item, itself, a third class relic.
About the exposition
The exposition included 59 relics. Nine were third class relics, and one was second class. The other 49 were first class relics. Among some of the more interesting first class relics that available for veneration were St. Mother Theresa and St. Thomas Aquinas from Bishop Siegel's personal collection; Saints Benedict, Scholastica, and Simon Stock from Monastery Immaculate Conception; St. Anthony of Padua from Divine Mercy Parish in St. Anthony; St. Maria Goretti from St. Joseph Parish in Jasper; St. Theresa of Avila from Holy Family Parish in Jasper; and St. Nicholas from St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Dale. One First Class relic included in the exposition that was particularly popular was the relic of the True Cross on loan from St. Mary Parish in Huntingburg. Along with the True Cross, St. Mary generously contributed others, including St. Faustina Kowalska.
Although the relic exposition was specifically created for the high school youth, many Christ the King parishioners also attended the presentation and veneration, which was held in St. Ferdinand Church. Earlier that afternoon, seventh- and eighth-grade religion classes visited the church for a shorter presentation about relics, after which they were able to touch the reliquaries and pray with them.
The exposition was part of the ongoing efforts across the diocese as part of the Eucharistic Revival to foster belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, greater attendance at Mass, and to encourage living in such a way as to reflect the Eucharist in our daily lives. The Saints are primary examples to us of a Eucharist-centered life, as their lives always pointed upwards to God.
Jack Tuinier wishes to publicly thank the pastors and administrators of the East Deanery, Benedictine Sister Sister Rebecca Abel, archivist for the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, and especially Bishop Siegel for allowing access to and granting temporary custody of the various relics that were used in the exposition. Without their support and cooperation, this opportunity for the youth would not have happened. Thank you all!