The Church has a long history of venerating relics, which is well rooted in Scripture (2 Kings 13:20-21, Matthew 9:20-22, Acts 5:12-15, Acts 19:11-12) and Tradition. Saints and their relics are not objects of worship, but are to be honoured in a manner that acknowledges God’s work in their lives.
The word relic is from Latin and means “remains” or “left behind”. Relics generally fall into one of three categories. A first class relic is an item directly associated with the life of Christ (i.e. a piece of the True Cross) or the body or a portion of the body of a martyr or other Saint; (i.e. bone, flesh, or hair). The bodies of some Saints have been miraculously preserved, not suffering the usual decay. A second class relic is an item or piece of an item worn, owned by the Saint or used to torture the Saint (i.e. clothing, Bible, Mass vestment, a fragment from an item used to torture or kill the Saint). A third class relic is something that a Saint touched or that has been touched to a first or second class relic (such as a piece of cloth). Anyone with access can create a third class relic. 95% of the relics that Fr. Martins’ travels with are in the first class category.
Through his ministry, known as the Treasures of the Church, people are helped to experience God powerfully and a to have a deeper encounter with the Communion of Saints. Martins refers to his work as a ministry of evangelization and healing.
His presentation and “walk with the Saints” is not like anything you’ve ever likely encountered previously. He has come to expect that each person attending one of these sessions will discover one Saint that will communicate with them in a personal way. He challenges each of us to come and find our Saint.
During these events it is not uncommon to have testimonies of God’s healing touch through the intercession of the Saints, including reports of healing from heart conditions, and cancer, sometimes by the hundreds or thousands according to Martins. Fr. Martins is always most deeply moved by the healing of the human soul, thereby removing obstacles to receiving eternal life. The priest declares: “You can’t go to heaven with a heart that has shut God out. You can’t go to heaven with unforgiveness in your heart. You can’t go to heaven by refusing to participate in the Sacraments and live your Catholic identity. You just can’t. ”
The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall welcomes everyone to an exposition of over 150 of Fr. Martins’ 900 Sacred Relics.
Among the treasures will be relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Faustina. In addition, there will also be present a piece of a veil which is believed to have belonged to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross.
The exhibit will be set up at the Agora Catholic Centre (former Nativity Hall) at 301 McConnell Avenue and will be open today, Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. and again on Saturday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m. Fr. Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross, the curator of this exhibit, will present a one hour talk followed by a tour of the relics. There is no cost, however there will be a free-will offering to help with costs. More information can be found atwww.treasuresofthechurch.com .