At St. Josaphat, we celebrate November as a "Month of Remembrance" for family and friends that have gone before us. The month begins with All Saints' Day (this Sunday), as we remember the saints and all holy men and women, immediately followed by All Souls' Day (this Monday), where many Catholic families return to the final resting places of beloved relatives to say a special prayer for their souls.
Throughout the month, we have our Book of the Dead in the side niche of the church, and all are welcome to add names of the deceased that the entire congregation will pray for at every Mass this month. Along with the Book of the Dead, our St. Josaphat Relics are on display. We have two relics of St. Josaphat, three relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (St. Therese of Lisieux), a relic of the "True Cross" of Jesus, a relic of St. Pius X, and a relic of St. Pius XII.
Relics can be "a piece of the body of a saint, an item owned or used by the saint, or an object which has been touched to the tomb of a saint." (
) No one currently here at St. Josaphat Parish knows exactly what our relics are, but some look to be chips of bone or pieces of clothing. (If anyone is interested to find out and would like to investigate, please contact the Parish Office at
or 773 327 8955.) They are displayed in beautiful, ornate reliquaries; appropriate vessels to hold the precious remains of our saints.
The veneration of relics can be traced back to the martyrdom of St. Polycarp, bishop and martyr, in 155 A.D. However, we as Catholics do not worship the relics themselves, but through them, adore God. "We do not worship relics, we do not adore them, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator. But we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are." (Ad Riparium, i, P.L., XXII, 907). St. Jerome, the Church Father, Letter to Riparius
So before or after Mass this month, why not stop by the niche in the North wall of the church to say a prayer for your loved ones, and view our relics here at St. Josaphat?