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    A man touches his rosary to the blood relic Small chapel altar close-up at JP2 Shrine

    Relics of St. John Paul II

    From the earliest times, Christians have honored the relics – the physical remains and personal effects – of early Christians who were martyred or lived especially holy lives. In many places their graves became sites of pilgrimage where the faithful journeyed to be inspired by their example and to ask for their help in the struggles of life and in leading holy lives themselves. Over time, shrines dedicated to these holy people were built to create a proper place for pilgrims to honor or venerate these saints, to attend Mass, and to receive the sacraments.

    Traditionally, pilgrims venerate relics by touching or kissing the reliquary in which the fragment of the holy person’s physical remains or personal item is kept. Veneration is an expression of reverence for the holiness of the saint, and pilgrims often ask for the saint to intercede on their behalf before God for spiritual assistance, physical healing, or other particular graces.

    “The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics…” (Universal Catechism, 1674)


    Close-up of Blood relic of John Paul II in the altar of the Luminous Mysteries Chapel, JPII Shrine


    At the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, pilgrims may venerate a first-class relic of St. John Paul II’s blood that is contained in a glass ampoule at the center of an ornate reliquary. This relic was a gift to Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson by His Eminence StanisÅ‚aw Cardinal Dziwisz, then-Archbishop of Kraków and long-time personal secretary to Pope John Paul II.

    By venerating the relics of St. John Paul II, pilgrims seek his intercession, receive spiritual graces for their families and loved ones, and obtain the courage and spiritual strength to imitate his saintly life and persevere in their Christian witness to the Gospel. From the graces received in prayer before the relics of St. John Paul II, pilgrims and their families are renewed in their daily striving for holiness of life and in faith, hope, and charity.


    The relics in the Redemptor Hominis Church reflect the North American heritage of the Knights of Columbus and its over 100-year history in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, while the relics in the Luminous Mysteries Chapel harken to the Polish heritage of St. John Paul II.

    Relics of St. John Paul II


    St. François de Laval
    St. Jóse María Robles Hurtado
    St. Kateri Tekakwitha
    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
    St. John Neumann
    St. Junípero Serra


    Saint Maximilian Kolbe
    Saint Albert Chmielowski
    Saint Faustina Kowalska
    Saint Gianna Beretta Molla