The Saint John Paul II National Shrine invites you to a relic tour beginning Saturday, June 21, in Boston. Following this schedule, the relic will travel to New York and Philadelphia and end in Baltimore.
Featuring a vial of St. John Paul II’s blood, the relic tour allows the faithful to continue to walk with the pope who traveled extensively to be with them.
During his pontificate, the pope traveled to over 120 nations. "The Pope cannot remain a prisoner of the Vatican," he once said. "I want to go to everybody...from the nomads of the steppes to the monks and nuns in their convents...I want to cross the threshold of every home."
In an article in Columbia magazine, Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore recalled the pope. “Throughout his ministry as priest, bishop and pope, John Paul II related to everyone as a strong, loving, and wise spiritual father,” he said. “From the very beginning, he reached out to young people – hiking and skiing with them, participating in student theater, teaching them to know and love their culture, and helping them to think critically about life. Most importantly, he encouraged them to discover their dignity and joy in Christ.”
The faithful perceived the pope’s sanctity from the moment of his death. Calls for “Santo Subito” or “Sainthood Now” were heard in St. Peter’s Square when he died in April 2005. Sainthood came less than a decade after the pope’s death.
“Few popes in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church have had so momentous an impact on the Church and the world at large as the man we can now properly call John Paul the Great,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said following the death of John Paul II.
Msgr. Slawomir Oder, postulator of the cause of the pope’s canonization also talked about the pope's holiness. “The most characteristic feature of John Paul II’s sanctity is his union with Christ, his ability to look at another human through the prism of Christ,” he said. “To be a follower of St. John Paul II means primarily to be deeply rooted in the love of God and to look at others, at friends and adversaries alike, as made in the image and likeness of God.”
The first-class blood relic will begin its tour at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. On June 21, the relic will be available for veneration at the Cathedral Chapel from noon to 3:00 p.m. The Cathedral will have a vigil Mass at 4:30 p.m.; following Mass, the relic will again be available for veneration.
On Sunday, June 22, a Spanish Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. and a special Archdiocesan Marriage Anniversary Mass at 11:30 a.m., followed by veneration of the relic.
On June 21, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also begins Fortnight for Freedom, a program that seeks to encourage prayer, education and action for religious freedom. A second relic of John Paul II, a piece of the blood-stained cassock worn by the pope during the 1981 assassination attempt, will be in Baltimore as part of the events for this program.
Following the stop in Boston, the blood relic will travel to New York where times for veneration are scheduled for Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13.
See the schedule for more details on the St. John Paul II relic tour.