June 17, 2014 - Major Relic of St. John Paul II to Visit Boston This Weekend*

For immediate release:  

June 17, 2014    

Contact: Joseph Cullen: 203-415-9314, [email protected]   

Terry Donilon: 617-746-5775, [email protected] 

Major Relic of St. John Paul II to Visit Boston This Weekend

Cardinal O’Malley to host relic at Holy Cross Cathedral 

BOSTON, Mass. — Beginning its national tour, an important relic of St. John Paul II will make its first stop in Boston at Holy Cross Cathedral on Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22. The tour is being sponsored by St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. and the Knights of Columbus.   

Boston was the first city in the United States in which St. John Paul II said Mass as pope, when he visited in October 1979 with 400,000 people gathering for his Mass on Boston Common. He was declared a saint on April 27 of this year.

During its time in Boston, the relic will be displayed at the cathedral and will be available for public veneration beginning at 3:00 pm on Saturday until the 4:30 pm vigil Mass, and again following that Mass. Veneration on Sunday, June 22, will follow the 11:30a.m. Mass, which will be celebrated by Cardinal Seán O’Malley (which is also the annual Archdiocesan Marriage Anniversary celebration). 

“We are grateful to the Knights of Columbus and Saint John Paul II National Shrine for making it possible for people of faith to pray before the relic of Saint John Paul II,” said Cardinal Seán.  “He meant so much to the people of the Archdiocese of Boston and around the world enlivening in them the presence of God’s grace and love.  We pray that those who come to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross this weekend will be inspired to carry out great works of mercy through evangelization as the Holy Father exemplified during his years as Pope and priest.”

The relic is similar to the one displayed at the recent canonization of Pope John Paul in Rome. It consists of a vial of his blood that was entrusted to the Knights of Columbus for the St. John Paul II National Shrine by his longtime personal secretary Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, archbishop of Kraków.  

The relic will also make visits to several other cities in the United States, including New York, Philadelphia in the months ahead. The nationwide tour will highlight the close connection St. John Paul had to the United States, as a frequent pilgrim to this country while he was pope. It will also provide the faithful who were unable to attend the ceremony in Rome an opportunity to pay their respects to this great man. 

“St. John Paul spent more time in the United States than any other pope before or since, shaping an entire generation of Catholics here and throughout the world,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Bringing his relic to communities throughout this country will recall for many Catholics his saintly life, his unswerving commitment to the dignity of every human person, and his emphasis on the call to holiness for each one of us.”

The tour of the relic is being sponsored by the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and the Knights of Columbus. 

The relic is normally housed at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, which is administered by the Knights of Columbus in Washington, D.C.  The site was designated a national shrine by the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier this year. This summer, it will debut a new 16,000 square foot, state-of-the art exhibit on his life and legacy.

More information is available at http://www.jp2shrine.org  

Information on the Annual Archdiocese of Boston Marriage Anniversary Mass:

  • Nearly 200 couples registered.   
  • During the mass couples stand and Cardinal Seán leads them in a renewal of their vows. Group photos are taken with Cardinal Seán after the mass.   
  • Details for the event can be found here