Pray in the presence of the relics of St. Therese
of Lisieux and of her parents, Blessed Louis
and Zelie Martin, in Philadelphia in November 2013
I am delighted to announce that, through the generosity of Mgr Bernard Lagoutte, former rector of the Shrine at Lisieux, and of the Magnificat Foundation, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is receiving a permanent gift of a new reliquary containing the relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin and of their famous daughter, St. Therese of Lisieux. You may venerate the relics in Center City the weekend of November 9-10 and at the Carmelite Monastery in Oak Lane the weekend of November 16-17.
The Shrine at Lisieux informs me that Mgr Lagoutte, together with the new rector, Father Olivier Ruffray, will visit Philadelphia on this occasion.
Where and when to pray in the presence of the relics of St. Therese and Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin
Listen carefully, for you have five chances to venerate the relics in November over two weekends. The first chance is only for those who participate in the Magnificat Day of Faith. All the other chances are open to the public.
First Chance - at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Saturday, November 9
The relics will be exposed for veneration in Philadelphia for the first time on Saturday, November 9, 2013 as part of the Magnificat Day of Faith at the Pennsylvania Convention Center to complete the Year of Faith. To attend the Magnificat Day of Faith, one must register in advance and pay a fee. The chance to venerate the relics in the chapel at the Convention Center during the Magnificat Day of Faith is limited to those who register and attend the Day of Faith. Note: as of October 23, registration is full.
Second Chance - a Eucharistic procession and at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in the evening of Saturday, November 9
To close the Magnificat Day of Faith, the Blessed Sacrament will be carried in a procession from the Pennsylvania Convention Center to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin and of St. Therese also will be carried in the procession. Anyone not able to attend the Magnificat Dayis welcome to join the procession, which will leave from the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 5:20 p.m. The procession will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in front of the Cathedral at 5:45 p.m. The reliquary will be brought into the Cathedral, which will be open for the public to venerate the relics throughout the evening. The closing time will be announced soon.
Third Chance - at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul all day on Sunday, November 10
The relics of St. Therese of Lisieux and of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin will be available for veneration in the Cathedral from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 10.
Fourth Chance - at the Carmelite Monastery of Philadelphia in Oak Lane on the following Saturday, November 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has generously entrusted the relics to the Carmelite Monastery, which was the cradle of devotion to St. Therese in the United States. The solemn transfer of the relics from the Cathedral Basilica to the Carmelite Monastery will take place on Saturday, November 10 at 2:30 p.m. The relics will have a police escort, and they are expected to arrive at the monastery at about 2:45 p.m. Holy Mass will be celebrated at the Carmelite Monastery at 5:00 p.m.; Father Dennis Gill, director of the archdiocesan Office for Worship, will preside. Individual veneration of the reliquary will not take place during the Mass. After Mass, individuals may continue to pray before the reliquary until 8:00 p.m. After 8:00 p.m., no one else may get in line, but the chapel will remain open until all those who were in line at 8:00 p.m. have prayed near the reliquary. The Carmelite chapel will be accessible to the handicapped this weekend.
The bookstore in the basement of the monastery will be open on Saturday, November 16 from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. It will close while the relics are received and installed. As soon the relics are installed, the bookstore will reopen until 4:40 p.m., when it will close for Mass. It will reopen immediately after Mass.
Fifth Chance - at the Carmelite Monastery of Philadelphia in Oak Lane on Sunday, November 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
On Sunday, November 17, the Carmelites will have their usual Mass in the chapel at 8:00 a.m. Anyone is welcome to attend. As a special act of thanksgiving for the gift of the relics, public veneration of the reliquary will begin at 10:00 a.m. and last, with the interruptions mentioned below, till 8:00 p.m. After 2:30 p.m., no one else may join the line to pray before the reliquary so that those already in line may pray there before Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament takes place at 3:00 p.m. Then Father Frederick L. Miller, Professor of Systematic Theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary and author of The Trial of Faith of St. Therese of Lisieux, will give a conference. After that individuals may pray before the reliquary again until 8:00 p.m. No one may join the line after 8:00 p.m., but the chapel will remain open until all those who were in line at 8:00 p.m. have prayed near the reliquary.
The bookstore will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
After that, the relics will be available for veneration in the Carmelite chapel on the first Sunday of every month from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. starting on Sunday, December 1.
Why venerate relics? An answer from "Understanding Therese's Relics" courtesy of www.americancatholic.org
The saints' relics are poor and fragile signs of what went to make up their bodies. When we are close to their relics, we can more easily evoke their human condition: that with their own bodies they acted, thought, worked, and suffered.
At times God wishes to use such tenuous and seemingly foolish signs to manifest his presence and make his power and glory shine forth. It is God in fact who works through these signs.
To return to Thérèse's case, it is a fact that when people stand in the presence of her mortal remains or have some contact with her poor relics, as with petals from an unpetalled rose, God, who received through her humanity so many signs of love, is pleased in turn to manifest his love through her bodily remains.
To "venerate" the relics is not to worship them, but to pray to God, as we do at the grave of a loved one, in the presence of what remains of the humanity of our sisters and brothers, who loved God so much in that humanity. Come to pray for yourself, for your spouse, parents, children, family. Pray for the poor, the sick, the dying, and for your beloved dead. For those who mourn, as the Martin family did; for those whose children died young; for those who suffer from breast cancer like Zelie and from Alzheimer's like Louis. Pray, like Therese, for and with those who have no faith. And pray for the grace to imitate the faith and abandonment that brought Louis and Zelie and Therese to such complete union with God.
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