First Class Relic

On October 5, 2011, at the conclusion of a Mass held in the Divine Mercy Shrine during the 2nd World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Kraków, His Eminence Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Kraków and longtime personal secretary to Pope John Paul II, presented a reliquary containing Saint John Paul II’s blood to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. This first-class relic was given to the Knights of Columbus to foster devotion at the Order’s Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

At the center of the reliquary is a glass ampoule that contains the Holy Father’s blood, which remains in a liquid state. Surrounding the relic is a nimbus decorated with 12 red stones representing the Twelve Apostles and with rays projecting downward. The design evokes John Paul II’s homily during the Mass dedicating the Divine Mercy Shrine on August 17, 2002. Citing the Diary of Saint Faustina, he said, “From here there must go forth ‘the spark which will prepare the world for [Jesus’] final coming.’ This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world.” The late pope’s likeness is depicted just beneath the relic, and at the base of the reliquary in silver is a relief of his coat of arms. The reliquary was crafted by Wiesław Domański, a member of Saint Brother Albert Council 14332 in Lublin. An identical reliquary is kept at the John Paul II Shrine in Krakόw.