The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth in Great Britain announced today that the relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, will be venerated in that diocese from May 20-22, 2015 to focus the prayers of the people of Portsmouth in the months leading up to the Synod on “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Modern World” in Rome in October. Bishop Philip Egan wrote, in a pastoral letter to be read at the parishes this weekend:
This May, to focus our prayers in the lead-up to the Synod, I have invited to the Diocese the relics of Blessed Louis and Blessed Zélie Martin, one of the first married couples ever to be beatified. Blessed Louis and Blessed Zélie are the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The two-day programme will begin on Wednesday 20th May with a Liturgy of Reception in Southampton at St. Theresa’s, Totton, before a day of veneration at the Cathedral in Portsmouth. The visitation will conclude with Mass at Christ the King, Reading, on Friday 22nd for those in the north of the Diocese. May the prayers of this saintly married couple, along with those of Joseph the Just and Mary the Virgin, renew us with the joy of the Gospel.
(See the full text of Bishop Egan’s pastoral letter , “Mary’s Husband”).
When he addressed the annual conference of deacons on November 30, 2014, Bishop Egan said of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin:
This saintly married couple is a great model for all married couples. I hope their prayers will help us reflect on the joy of marriage and the family and enable us to praise God anew during this year between the two Synods.
The reliquary of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin will also be venerated in the Diocese of Plymouth in May. Details for the diocese of Plymouth have not been announced. The Web site of the Shrine at Lisieux, however, states that the relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie will be in Great Britain from May 15 to May 23, so it is likely that the relics might be in Plymouth from May 15 to May 19, as they arrive in the Diocese of Portsmouth on May 20.
In June the relics of the Martin spouses will be venerated in the diocese of Evreux, in France, where Louis Martin died on July 29, 1894 at La Musse, the country estate inherited by his wife’s brother and sister-in-law, Isidore and Celine Guerin. From July 1 to September 30, 2015, the relics will be venerated in Madagascar. Next year they will be venerated in Poland, in Cracow. Since 2010 the "traveling reliquary" of the Martin spouses has made many pilgrimages to different parts of France and Italy and to Belgium.
In 2009 the relics of St. Therese made their first pilgrimage to Great Britain. The visit was a powerful experience of prayer which had a profound influence on the country, and the relics were venerated by record-breaking crowds.
The relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin are especially linked with the Synod on the Family. Throughout the first session of the Synod on the Family in October 2014, they were venerated in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. See a rare video interview in English about the cause of Louis and Zelie Martin with Fr. Antonio Sangalli, the vice-postulator (the advocate appointed by the Church for their cause). See photos of the reliquary of
Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, together with the reliquary of St. Therese, exposed for veneration in the Church of Saint Mary Major in Rome during the first session of the synod on the family in October 2014.
See “Ahead of Synod, UK Catholics to Venerate Relics of St.Therese’s Parents,” by the Catholic News Agency, January 16, 2015