Priest: St. John Paul II relic, reminder of ‘dignity of life’

Priest: St. John Paul II relic, reminder of ‘dignity of life’

Manila Cathedral rector Fr. Regie Malicdem shows the blood relic of Saint John Paul II during a press briefing, April 5, 2018. ROY LAGARDE 

By Roy Lagarde

April 5, 2018

MANILA

The blood relic of Saint Paul II, which will be housed at the Manila Cathedral, is a timely reminder to the country of God’s mercy and the dignity of all people, a priest said.

Fr. Regie Malicdem, the cathedral’s rector, said the sainted pope’s challenge to Filipinos during the 1995 World Youth Day in Manila “reverberates” until now.

“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,” said the priest.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is scheduled to celebrate a 9:00 a.m. Mass at the cathedral on the eve of the Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast instituted by the late pope himself.

For the first time, the reliquary containing the blood of John Paul II, who served as pontiff from 1978 to 2005, will be open for public veneration until Sunday.

The reliquary is the exact replica of the one used during the pope’s beatification and canonization at the Vatican.

Malicdem said it was crafted by the same company in Rome, the Fratelli Savi Gioielli.

Prayer cards bearing a third class relic, a piece of cloth wiped on the vial, will also be distributed to Mass-goers on Saturday.

Church officials are hoping the relic will draw people to the cathedral, which offers regular Masses and confession.

“Cardinal Tagle invites all of us, particularly the youth, to come together as a people to gather around table of the Lord with Pope John Paul II,” Malicdem said.

“We must be reminded that we are in the presence of a holy man, so let us pray. Let us pray for our families, ourselves, and the society,” he added.

The Manila cathedral is one of only seven churches in the world that has custody of a small vial of the pope’s blood.

It was given by Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the pope’s former secretary, as a “gift” to the cathedral for its 60th anniversary of its rebuilding post-war.