Discovering Relics

Story by: Mary Seamans

Multimedia Coordinator

Photos by: Mary Seamans  Jordan Whiteko

                                                      Multimedia Content Manager

Staying close to your faith this summer may involve no more than a short drive to see a relic that will have a long-lasting impact.

The largest display of relics in the world outside of the Vatican is at St. Anthony Chapel, which has more than 5,000 items. The items, which include a piece of Jesus’ crown of thorns, were brought to Pittsburgh to save them from the challenges to the church in Europe in the mid- to late-1800s. For information about visiting the chapel in the Troy Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh, go to

Non-Catholics often do not understand the veneration of relics. The early Church did not have photo albums or scrapbooks to keep alive the memory of loved ones, so they kept the remains or possessions of a holy person to remember them. The saints are holy men and women who lived exemplary lives. We can look to the saints for support and prayers, just as we might ask anyone — a friend, neighbor or loved one — for such help.

Catholics venerate the saints and the relics of saints — meaning they treat them with honor, dignity and respect. But they worship and adore God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — alone. That’s an important and sometimes misunderstood distinction about the Catholic devotion to relics.

The Diocese of Greensburg was blessed to be a stop on the St. Jean Vianney Relic Pilgrimage as the incorrupt heart of the saint was available for veneration in Our Lady of Grace Church, Greensburg, April 17, and the next day at the Chrism Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.


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