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When a person dies many people would like some personal item of theirs to hold on to as a reminder of the connection with that person, be it a piece of jewellery, a book, a lock of hair, or something completely inconsequential but sentimental to us.
From its earliest days the Church has had a place for the relics of the Saints and, indeed, every consecrated church is required to have a relic of a saint in its main altar. This may seem odd given that relics are inferior to the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, which resides in the tabernacle.
We never worship saints, not even our Blessed Lady, but simply venerate them which is to acknowledge their special place within the Church and the Communion of the Saints. Relics remind us in a very visual and almost tangible way of that. They remind us that the person from whom they came now dwells in God’s presence in the Kingdom and can intercede for us before his throne, and so a very strong connection between us and God can be opened up.
More importantly, perhaps, relics also remind us of how the person lived their life and the circumstances of that life. Coming before their relics we are reminded of how we too should live and of the great reward that lies in store for us if we imitate their example. Many of the saints also remind us that life for them had its hardships just as we have ours. The life stories of Louis and Zélie Martin and their youngest daughter, Thérèse, were far from being idyllic and this, too, gives us hope that we too can attain the Kingdom.
As we prepare for the World Meeting of Families we consider the Martin Family of Alençon and Lisieux and what they overcame through faith in Jesus Christ, and we ask for their intercession for our own families.
Relics of Saints Louis & Zélie Martin and their daughter,
Saint Thérèse (The Little Flower), will be in Holy Cross Church, Tramore, for a Eucharistic celebration at 12.00 noon on Sunday, October 29.