Blood relic of St. John Paul II open for public veneration at Manila Cathedral

Photo by Eric Paul Guanlao

The Manila Cathedral will hold the first public veneration of the Blood relic of St. John Paul II on Saturday, April 7, 2018 after the welcome mass to be presided by His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.

The Blood relic of the saintly pope was unveiled during a press conference on Thursday, April 5 at the Pope Francis Hall of Manila Cathedral. 

Fr. Reginald Malicdem, rector of Manila Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception said in his statement that the Blood relic was given by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former secretary of the Pope after they wrote to the Vatican and requested for relics of three important Popes who were recently beatified and canonized in preparation for the cathedral’s 60th year anniversary of rebuilding after the Second World War.

According to Father Malicdem, Cardinal Dziwisz sent the vial of blood through Sr. Nancy Banares, a Filipina nun of the Sisters of the Visitation who is the superior of the community in Bolechowice, Poland, and came with a personal letter to Cardinal Tagle and an authentication certificate of the relic.

According to Father Malicdem, the blood is in a liquid state because of an anti-coagulant substance that is present in the test tubes at the moment of extraction. The blood was extracted from the pope during an emergency transfusion near the end of his life due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

There are seven vials of this pope’s liquid blood enshrined in different churches around the world: St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, the Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital, a pilgrim relic that belongs to the Postulator of the Cause of the Pope, the John Paul II Center in Krakow, Poland, theu National Shrine and Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Cherash, Malaysia, and the Manila Cathedral in the Philippines.

After the welcome Mass, Father Malicdem said they will be distributing prayer cards or stampita of the saint to those who will go the cathedral.

The veneration of the blood relic of St. John Paul II is open to public on Sunday, April 8 from 6 am to 8 pm.

Precious Gift

In his statement, Father Malicdem also regard the blood relic of the pope as a “precious gift” that gives comfort to the people especially for those who are suffering from physical illness.

“This precious gift of John Paul II's blood relic is truly a source of consolation and help especially for those who are suffering physical illnesses. Let St. John Paul II, who himself endured courageously his sickness, be the companion and intercessor in their journey.”

“Let those who have special intentions and petitions come in veneration and prayer, because we are assured that our beloved John Paul II is now in the home of the Father, interceding always on our behalf.”

Pope’s message during 1995 World Youth Day reverberates

According to father Malicdem, the presence of the blood relic of St. John Paul II reminds the faithful of the pope’s message during the 1995 World Youth Day for us to become instruments of evangelization.

“Kayo ay isinugo ni Kristo tulad ng pagsugo sa kanya ng Ama. Salamat at pinakinggan ninyo ang kanyang Salita. Inaanyayahan ko kayong maging mga alagad ng Ebanghelyo, at mga tagapagtaguyod ng kanyang Kaharian sa inyong mga pamilya, parokya, samahan, at sa bawat bahagi ng inyong buhay bilang mga Pilipino. Nawa'y maging matatag kayo sa inyong pananampalataya at pagmamahal sa inyong kapwa,” said St. John Paul II in his homily during the 1995 World Youth Day Closing Mass at Luneta.

Father Malicdem stressed that the same message reverberates even up to this present time.

“We are called to live out the vocation to love and be in solidarity with our fellow human beings, to defend the inalienable dignity of human life, and to witness to the love of Jesus in the midst of the realities and needs of our times.”

Proper Decorum

During the press conference, Father Malicdem noted that they will not restrict the faithful who will take their selfies especially now that we live in the digital age where social media becomes one of the platforms for evangelization. Instead, the priest encouraged the faithful to behave and be respectful while venerating the blood relic.

“Mahalaga yan sa atin lalung lalo na ngayon sa social media. Pero yun lang yung proper respect, yung decorum din natin na hindi lang ito basta isang museum piece o isang bagay na nagpapa-picture tayo. But we consider this as a presence of a holy man in our midst. Yung proper decorum din and attitude before a holy thing in the presence of a holy person,” Father Malicdem said. (Jheng Manalang Prado/RCAM-AOC)


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