Viewing of St. Paul the Apostle relic set for May 20 at Cathedral

| May 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Pope Benedict XVI looks into the crypt area of what church officials have identified as the tomb of St. Paul in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome in this photo from 2007. (CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano)

A relic from the tomb of St. Paul in Rome will be on view from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, May 20 at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Visitors are welcome to attend Sunday Mass at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., and veneration of the relic will occur around the Mass times, according to an announcement from the Cathedral. Until a permanent and secure location has been constructed, this will be the only public viewing.

The relic is a stone removed from St. Paul’s tomb. It has been placed in a clear box closed by the Vatican with wax and lead seals. The relic was taken from the apostle’s burial place beneath the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome.

The Cathedral of St. Paul was designated in 2009 as National Shrine of the Apostle Paul. As a sign of spiritual closeness, the Vatican has established a “bond of spiritual affinity” between the Cathedral and the Basilica in Rome. As a symbol of this spiritual bond, Pope Benedict XVI gave the Cathedral the relic from the saint’s tomb.

Father Joseph Johnson, rector of the Cathedral, received the gift in March while in Rome and carried it back to St. Paul.

“Many religions encourage pilgrimages,” Father Johnson said. “For Christians, the greatest pilgrimage is to the Holy Land or to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul. Now that the Vatican has established this ‘bond of spiritual affinity,’ it means people can make a pilgrimage here and enjoy all the spiritual benefits as if we were able to pray at the tomb of the Apostle Paul in Rome.”

The Cathedral of St. Paul is located at 239 Selby Ave., in St. Paul.

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