Monday, October 31, 2011

Veneration of a Blessed Servant of God

For almost two years priests, religious, and laity sent e-mails to me to answer this question:

"Can we venerate a Blessed in our community?"

Allow me to answer the question:

I. The Relics of the Saints in the Liturgy
In the present norm released by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, approved by Benedict XVI, beatification must be celebrated in the local church of the Servant of God.[1] The local Ordinary, representing the local church, presents the life and the miracle attributed to the Servant of God. After the proclamation of decree for beatification which comes from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved by the pope, the recipient of the miracle through the intercession of the new Blessed or a member of his or her community, brings the relic forward, a first class, for veneration, to the Cardinal-Prefect of the Congregation or to the legate of the pope and is enthroned in a proper place, preferably in the sanctuary. This is an indication that the new Blessed is now worth of veneration in the local church. After the ceremony, an Apostolic Letter is given announcing to the world that there is a new Blessed who may be venerated by the local church or an individual, and a feast day in the local church is also assigned.

II. Fr. Ed McNamara
The most recent norms relating to this theme are contained in a Notification published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, on Sept. 20, 1997.

These update and complement the norms given in the general calendar and the more-detailed norms given in the instruction "Calendaria Particularia" issued June 24, 1970.

This document touches on the subject of inserting the blessed in local calendars in several places, but above all in Nos. 25-37.

In general, the document warns against the excessive multiplication of celebrations in order to keep the General Roman Calendar's basic unity intact.

Especially in the first years after beatification or canonization it is probably better to limit the celebration to the locales more intimately united to the saint's life before seeking permission to include a new saint or blessed in a diocesan, regional or national calendar or in a religious order's general calendar (Nos. 28, 30).

The celebration of a blessed differs from that of a saint above all with respect to the universality of the veneration that may be offered to them.

The blessed are usually venerated with celebrations on a local level in places where they were born, where they died, where their relics are preserved. They are also venerated in places that had a long-term association with their activities, in a church dedicated to them, or within the confines of the churches and oratories of a particular religious order which has its own liturgical calendar.

However, even in these cases, it is better to begin by inserting this celebration as an optional memorial and later expand, both territorially and in liturgical ranking as devotion spreads (No. 31).

In some cases, especially in ancient dioceses, it might even be better to restrict this initial veneration to the church where his relics are kept or to his native town.

A priest may celebrate a saint's feast day anywhere in the universal Church as an optional memorial even if this feast is not included in the general calendar.

However, he must respect the general liturgical norms regarding the precedence of different celebrations which means that such a celebration may only take place on days where there is no other feast or obligatory memorial during ordinary time, in the weekdays of Advent before Dec. 17, those of Christmas after Jan. 2 and during Eastertide after the Easter octave (No. 33).

In order to include the celebration of a blessed in the national or diocesan calendar, or to dedicate a church to a blessed, either the bishops' conference or the local bishop, as the case may be, requests permission from the Holy See.

The inclusion of a new saint or blessed into a national calendar requires a two-thirds majority of the country's bishops in a secret ballot and the recognition of the Holy See.

Once the Holy See has granted permission, the blessed may be included in the national, regional, diocesan or religious order calendar according to the liturgical ranking permitted.

A blessed is usually accorded the ranking of optional memorial, occasionally an obligatory memorial, rarely a feast (and even then usually restricted to a church containing relics), but never a solemnity.

Thus, in the examples you pointed out: A priest in the United States can celebrate Blessed Junipero Serra who has been included in the calendar of the United States. But a priest in Rome may not celebrate except, I think, within the North American College, which, like all of Rome's national colleges, is permitted to follow the home calendar.

A priest may not celebrate Blessed Mother Teresa in ordinary churches unless the Holy See has granted permission to include the celebration in the diocesan regional or national calendar. But her feast may be celebrated anywhere in the world within the chapels and oratories of the Missionaries of Charity.

Several readers asked for clarifications regarding the celebration of Masses of blessed and saints (see Dec. 21) not included in the universal calendar.

One asked if a Mass in honor of a blessed who had been a member of a Third Order could be celebrated for members of the order even outside of a church pertaining to the group's First or Second orders.

The principal distinction between the liturgical celebration of saints and blessed is the restriction of the celebration of the blessed either locally to the places connected with their lives or relics, or within the churches of religious orders to which they pertained.

In the latter case the celebration of a blessed would usually be restricted to churches and chapels of the order but not necessarily, as in the case of orders of brothers or women religious, to priests who belong to the order in question.

No. 35 of the 1997 notification regarding particular calendars would not appear to allow for the celebration of blessed outside of these churches for particular groups such as members of Third Orders. Indeed, the document suggests that these celebrations should be occasions for pilgrimages to the churches where the Mass may be celebrated.

However, I think that in the not-too-distant future some modification of these norms will be necessary in order to accommodate, not just the blessed of Third Orders, but also the needs of the members of, say, Catholic Action and the Legion of Mary as well as some of the more recent lay ecclesial movements. These do not, strictly speaking, have churches or oratories of their own, but their members meet in parishes and other centers.

The celebration of the future blessed of these groups, many of which are international in character, will require a less geographically limited permission.

With regard to the texts to be used, if there is no official Mass texts or at least no approved translations for the recently blessed, then the most appropriate common should be used (virgins, pastors, men or woman saints etc.)

This throws some light on another aspect mentioned in my earlier reply which some found a bit confusing.

When speaking about the liturgical calendar, there are several levels. For the whole world there is the Church's General Liturgical Calendar which contains those celebrations of saints considered to be of universal or historical importance.

Also on the level of the whole world is the Roman Martyrology, which contains the entire list of saints and blessed celebrated in the Church although the vast majority of these are venerated only in certain areas.

On this level, any priest may celebrate the feast of a saint found in the martyrology of the day, provided the day is free of other general or local celebrations which would impede its celebration.

He may not, however, celebrate a blessed outside of the areas where this celebration has been specifically permitted by the bishop, or the bishops' conference and ratified by the Holy See.

On the local or particular level there are National, Regional, Diocesan, and Religious Order Calendars.

These may include saints and blessed from the Roman Martyrology, not included in the general calendar, as either obligatory or optional memorials within the confines of the territory for which they have been approved.

They sometimes attribute a higher degree of liturgical solemnity than that of the general calendar, especially in the case of national, diocesan or church patrons and occasionally a different date from that of the rest of the Church.

A traveling priest is usually obliged to follow the calendar of the country he is visiting. If celebrating without a congregation, however, he may follow the general calendar or that of his own nation or religious order.

As mentioned, there may be some exceptions: In Rome the many national colleges (North American, Brazilian, Filipino, English, Irish, etc.) have traditionally followed the calendars of their home countries with respect to major feasts and particular saints and blessed. This privilege may usually be exercised only within the colleges themselves.

Another exception could be when the prayer texts for a local celebration exist only in the language of the place. In such cases a traveling priest, either alone or accompanying a group, would not necessarily have to follow the particular celebration unless it had the category of a feast or solemnity in which case he could take the most appropriate common.

  

[1] Communique of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, September 20, 2005.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pastoral Visitation


PART VIII
LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH OFFICIAL ACTS
PERTAINING TO THE GOVERNMENT OF A DIOCESE

CHAPTER 2
PASTORAL VISITATION

1117       The bishop in fulfilling the obligation to visit the parishes or local communities of his diocese should not appear to be satisfying a purely administrative duty. Rather the faithful should see in him the herald of the Gospel, the teacher, shepherd, and high priest of his flock.

1178       To ensure this happening, the visitation of the bishop should take place, if at all possible, on days that permit large numbers of the faithful to gather. Sufficient time should also be devoted to an apt, preparatory catechesis of the people by their presbyters. The visitation itself should be sufficiently long to enable the bishop to preside at celebration of the liturgy and to evaluate, promote, encourage, and put into effect the apostolate of the clergy and laity and the works of charity.

1179       The bishop, in the vestments indicated in no. 63, should be received in a manner suited to the circumstances of the place and the situation. If this seems appropriate, the bishop may be solemnly received and greeted by the clergy at the door of the church. But the bishop may even be escorted to the church with festive song, when this is feasible and appropriate. A dignified solemnity in receiving the bishop is a sign of love and devotion of the faithful toward their good shepherd.

1180       At the entrance of the church the parish priest (pastor), vested in cope, meets the bishop, offers him the crucifix to be kissed, and presents the sprinkler, with which the bishop sprinkles himself and those present. After a brief, silent prayer before the blessed sacrament, the bishop goes to the sanctuary (chancel); there the parish priest (pastor), standing before the altar, invites the faithful to join in prayer for the bishop and, after a brief pause for silent prayer, says the pray God, eternal shepherd or God, our Father, our shepherd and guide, provided in The Roman Missal (Sacramentary).[1]
                The bishop then greets the people and announces his agenda for the visitation. He then says the collect for the titular of the church or the patron of the place, and, in the usual way, blessed the people. Then the parish priest (pastor) dismisses them.

1181       But when Mass is to follow the reception of the bishop, immediately after the prayer for the bishop has been said, the bishop, at the chair, puts on the vestments for the Mass. The presbyters charged with the pastoral care of the parish or presbyters living within the parish confines celebrate the Mass with the bishop, and the faithful take an active part. Such participation is particularly to be sought in the more remote parts of the diocese where the people rarely or never have the opportunity to take part in a stational Mass celebrated by the bishop in their own area.

1182       It is recommended that during the pastoral visitation the bishop confer not only the sacrament of confirmation but other sacraments as well, particularly in his visits to the sick. In this way he will more clearly appear to the faithful as the chief steward of the mysteries of God and as the overseer and guardian of the entire liturgical life in the Church entrusted to his care.

1183       When there is a lengthy visitation, there should be a celebration of the liturgy of the hours in the church or a celebration of the word of God, with the homily of the bishop and with intercessions for the Universal Church and for the local Church.

1184       As circumstances suggest, the bishop should also go to the cemetery with the people and there offer prayers for the dead and sprinkle the graves with holy water, in the manner described already in nos. 399-402.


[1] See RM, Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, I. For the Church, 3 For the Bishop, A.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Relics during the Canonization and Beatification Ceremony


From the Relics of the Saints in the Liturgy, p. 8-9:
                 
The relic of a holy person is first exposed during the beatification ceremony in his or her local church. The ceremony is done within a Eucharistic Celebration after the homily. During the pontificate of John Paul II, beatification was almost always carried out in Rome to indicate that it was a universal celebration. In the present norm released by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, approved by Benedict XVI, beatification must be celebrated in the local church of the Servant of God.[1] The local Ordinary, representing the local church, presents the life and the miracle attributed to the Servant of God. After the proclamation of decree for beatification which comes from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved by the pope, the recipient of the miracle through the intercession of the new Blessed or a member of his or her community, brings the relic forward, a first class, for veneration, to the Cardinal-Prefect of the Congregation or to the legate of the pope and is enthroned in a proper place, preferably in the sanctuary. This is an indication that the new Blessed is now worth of veneration in the local church. After the ceremony, an Apostolic Letter is given announcing to the world that there is a new Blessed who may be venerated by the local church or an individual, and a feast day in the local church is also assigned.

Upon canonization, the Blessed is elevated to the ranks of saints of the universal Church. The pope presides at this moving ceremony. The canonization rite is done after the greeting. The prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who speaks in behalf of the Church, presents the life and miracle attributed to the candidate. After which, the Litany of the Saints is prayed (or sung), with the Litany completed, the pope reads the formula of canonization: “For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the fostering of Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayers for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brethren in the Episcopate, we declare and define that Blessed (Name of the Servant of God) is a Saint and we enroll him (her) among the Saints, decreeing that he is to be venerated in the whole Church as one of the Saints.”[2] Then all answer by singing: “Amen” accompanied with applause. This is followed by a procession of the relic of the new saint, carried by the beneficiaries of the miracle attributed to the saint, or by one from his or her community. The relic is presented to the pope and enthroned in a proper place, preferably in the sanctuary. This act means the saint may now be venerated and celebrated by the universal church, and serve as an inspiration for the faithful. An Apostolic Letter is then issued indicating the said canonization ceremony and the date of the feast.



[1] Communique of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, September 20, 2005.
[2]Cf. Libbreti of the Canonization of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), 122-125; Douillet, 81.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS - November 1


SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS
Dave Ceasar Francisco Dela Cruz

            November is marked by the secular as “Halloween.” Yes it is hallowed; it is holy, because we celebrate the Holy God who work in holy people of different age, status, and time. We honor the holy people, specifically known and general, whom we love and venerate. We honor all the Saints, a manifestation that  our Church is truly a "Mother of the Saints, an image of the Eternal City"

Introduction
            Since time and beginning, God calls each of his beloved to follow him. We marked them as patriarchs, priests, prophets, kings, and those who followed the will of God in the Old Testament. They are features of the consecrated and chosen people[1] – the Israelites - during that time.
            In the New Testament, Jesus called twelve men to be his disciples, an invitation to be holy by serving with him to proclaim God’s kingdom and conversion. It was the disciples who heard, and first challenge to live and believe the beatitudes, the teachings of Our Lord, and, most especially, witness and follow the way of love of Jesus – his passion, death, and resurrection.
            After the glorious ascension of Jesus into heaven, now, the apostles were gifted by the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost day. They were strong and confident, with love and humility, proclaiming the Gospel to different races. They chose helpers – disciples, who were inspired by the life of Jesus, and who wish to continue to Messianic mission of Our Lord continued by the apostles. The Word of God and in the Breaking of the Bread, many were fed with the spirit of Jesus and to live according to the will of God – a blessed life.  This was manifested when Stephen, one of the first deacons, offered his life out of love for God and faith in Jesus Christ.[2]
            The Book of Revelation is one of the best sources where we can see how these holy people are rewarded by the Lord, faithful to his promise in the beatitudes. In the book also we can read how the people of God, the holy people, celebrate the victory of Christ’s paschal mystery.[3]
           
Veneration of Martyrs
            During the fourth century, early Christians venerate the martyrs of our faith. They celebrate it on their Dies Natalis (day of birth in heaven). Due to numerous martyrs that offered their life on one day, they celebrate them as a group. The Church as a mother, doesn’t want one of her children be abandoned or set aside. In Antioch, the Sunday after Pentecost was the first documented testimony that Christians venerate the martyrs in one day. The homilies of our Church Fathers like St. John Chrysostom and St. Ephrem of Syria testify to the said celebration.
            Due to holy men and women who are not martyrs, the Church also needs to accommodate them in the liturgical calendar. In the year 411, the Chaldean Christians have a day in the liturgical calendar called “Commemoration of Confessors” which is on Friday after Easter.

First All Saints’ Day
            May 13, 609 or 610, Pope Boniface IV consecrated a Church, the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a famous place because this is where the Romans worship all their gods. When Christianity hover over Rome, some of  the palaces and mansion were turned into places of worship. The Pantheon was dedicated under the titular Sancta Maria ad Martyres (Holy Mary and all Martyrs). The day of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres became the first date of celebrating all Holy Men and Women in the Roman Church.
            During the pontificate of Pope Gregory III (731-741) he consecrated a chapel in Saint Peter’s Basilica dedicated to all the Saints on November 1. This is a chapel reserve for the relics holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors. From then on, November 1 became the feast of All Saints setting aside May 13.
            At the Frankish empire there was a celebration for the Festival of All Saints.  On 835AD, it was made a holy day of obligation in the whole Frankish empire, and then made universal by Pope Gregory IV. Pope Sixtus IV add an Octave, where the feast of Holy Relics falls for celebration.

The Solemnity of All Saints
            Since the liturgical era of the Council of Trent until Vatican II, November 1 was untouchable and has the level of a Solemnity (with Gloria, Second Reading, and Credo). The celebration today echoes the preface of All Saints: “Today, we keep the festival of your holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother.”
            November 1 is a holy day of obligation in some countries, though it is not a holy day of obligation in our country it is still a holiday.
            For Filipinos, we must set a notion that November 1 is a celebration of All Saints, the living holy men and women of every time and place who are in heaven. It is a day of great reminder for all of us that we are all called to be saints.
            Pastors must have a heart to lead their flock in understanding this wonderful celebration of our Church and our faith. Catechism on the role of the saints in our lives must be given. Much more, ways and exercises of holiness is timing for this season like: Solemn Eucharistic Celebration, Confession, Retreat and Recollection, Work of Charity, etc.
            During this day, the community must have a local festival of All Saints like the exposition and veneration of the relics of the saints, presentation of the lives and works of the saints, and many more.

Pastoral Suggestion
            During the Liturgy of the Hours and/or Eucharistic Celebration on the solemnity of All Saints on November 1, or if the local community wishes to honor them through a votive mass for All Saints, the relics of the saints or blessed can be exposed publicly for veneration of the faithful so that through this celebration they may invoke their help that we, who honor them, be holy and with their prayers bring us the forgiveness and love of God.[4]

Reflection
            Pope Benedict XVI gave a wonderful homily on All Saints' day of 2006: This, then, is the meaning of today's Solemnity: looking at the shining example of the Saints to reawaken within us the great longing to be like them; happy to live near God, in his light, in the great family of God's friends. Being a Saint means living close to God, to live in his family. And this is the vocation of us all, vigorously reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council and solemnly proposed today for our attention.


[1] Cf. Dt. 7: 6
[2] Ac. 7: 60
[3] Cf. Rev. 19: 1-5
[4] Opening Prayer on the Solemnity of All Saints

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A FEAST FOR HOLY RELICS - November 5


A FEAST FOR HOLY RELICS
Dave Ceasar Francisco Dela Cruz

            In the calendar of the Extraordinary Form and in Tradition of the Holy Roman Church the 5th day of November is a feast not of a person or people but of their remains, the feast of the Holy Relics. Let us not be confused because other dioceses or religious communities celebrate it in other days. But usually, it is celebrated within the Octave of the Solemnity of All Saints.

Theological Foundation
            In the liturgical calendar the Church commemorates the events and titles of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the life and holiness of the Angels, Apostles, Martyrs, Pastors, Doctors of the Church, Virgins, Holy Men and Women. Likewise, the Church celebrates the dignity of dedicated houses of worship. But why have a celebration for holy relics?
            The cult of the saints which started in the early times of the Church is a way for those who are living to remember the heroic act of a martyr, until the Church accepted non-martyrs for veneration. The honor (dulia) due to the Saints is celebrated on the day of their Dies Natalis (birth in heaven). Early Christians celebrate these by celebrating the Eucharist and visiting their tombs.
            Sacred Scriptures remind us that our body is created by God, sanctified with the breath of life, and nourished by his words. Our body, because it is the reflection of God’s goodness – made in his image and likeness - and temple of the Holy Spirit- is sacred (Cf. Gen. 1:26; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).
            Furthermore, our baptism sanctifies the body and soul, freeing us from original sin and opens it to sanctifying graces. Amidst of sin and weaknesses of our body, the sacrament of reconciliation rejuvenates our body and soul and is strengthened by the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
            Death is the consequence of sin (Cf. Rom. 6:23). But because of Christ death on the cross, his rising restored our life and death became a reward for Christians. As what Saint Teresa of Avila said: “To see God we must die,” and her spiritual daughter, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, enriched the beauty of death as entry “to eternal life.” The Christian is rewarded by seeing and being with God and to be in company with Christ forever.
            The soul, in God’s mercy we trust, is at peace. The body is given honor with Christian burial: the body, even without life, is owned by God and is still sacred. This is why we give wakes, Funeral Masses, blessings, and celebrating the death anniversary at the tomb. The body, decomposed or incorrupt, is still God’s creation, and will always remind us of the person who was made one with Christ on earth.

Theology of the Body
            The Gospel narrates to us that after the death of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of the Lord to be laid in peace in a tomb. Romans and Jews are people who have a deep respect for the dead. Joseph, moved with faith and trust in the resurrection, gave a worthy burial for the dead body of the Lord on the cross and, with others around, gave what is due: pure linen, perfume, etc. Christians, both during the time of the apostles and the early Church, did the same giving respect for the body as what they did with Stephen the first martyr, the apostles, and early martyrs.
            One wonderful account during the early Church was on the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp wherein Christians gathered his remains, which is the translation of relics, “And so we afterwards took up his bones which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place.”
            The said account was a proof on how we must respect our body, living and dead. Respect for the remains is a Christian act because it is a way of respecting and treasuring God’s gift, the gift of the body.
            At the start of this paper, I mentioned, and will always remind the readers, that our body is sacred because it is God’s gift and creation, and is sanctified by the Sacraments. These are also the reasons why we place the mortal remains of our departed ones inside beautiful and dignified coffins, letting him/her wear the best clothes, and putting flowers and candles around. The same with the relics of the saints, we place them in an adorned theca (the round metal container) and in a reliquary, placing them in a dignified place for veneration.
            Bones, ashes, and even personal objects owned by the person whom we loved are taken care well to show our respect and love for our beloved. Much more, we care of these because God works in the person and the material objects became instruments to help him/her be holy. This is the reason why we venerate the relics of the saints: to render the Saints what is due to them and, through this practice, to render more praise and adoration to their creator God.

A Feast for Holy Men and Women
            “The Saints have been traditionally honored in the Church,” (SC11) almost every day: from optional and obligatory memorials to feasts and the solemnities, especially on November 1.
            Before the Second Vatican Council, in the Calendar of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and in the Missale Romanum of 1962, there was a feast dedicated for the Relics of the Saints namely: “Sacrarum Reliquiarum quæ in ecclesiis diœcesis asservantur.”It was placed on November 5, within the octave of All Saints’ Day, and is attributed to Saint Pope Pius X, because before there were other dates, depending on the local Church to celebrate this wonderful feast but he united these observances into one day.
            Due to the renewal of liturgy both in texts and rites, most especially on the liturgical calendar, the feast of Holy Relics was set aside but never abrogated.
            Some dioceses, especially in Europe, and monasteries and canonries still celebrate the Feast of Holy Relics. Saint Norbert once said: “You must have a great veneration for the relics of the Saints, for they are more precious than all the treasures of the world.  Should you possess any in your house, consider them as the guardians of your home and your heart.”
            We could consider the Saints’ presence in homes as intercessors, friends, and also guardians. The Church is the home of the Family of God, and when a Church possesses relics of Saints, it is a visible sign of the unity of the Church: Triumphant, Militant, and Suffering. Furthermore, as we honor the relics of the Saints, we are reminded of God as our creator, that the human body is sacred, and we are called to be saints.

Pastoral Suggestion
            “The Saints have been traditionally honored in the Church, and their authentic relics and images held in veneration,” (SC11) it is nice to ask pastors of souls to continue the tradition of the Church by celebrating the Feast of Holy Relics - usus antiquior.
            In Rome, especially in the Saint Peter’s Basilica, and in other Churches they place the relics in a reliquary near or within the sanctuary (for Ordinary Form)[1]. It is not a veneration of the dead for no one dies in Christian faith: all of us are living because God is our life. We venerate the saints who live in God’s kingdom and blessing God in his saints.
            For us here in the orient, it will be a pastoral and spiritually enriching moment for our faithful to let them be aware with the treasures of our Church – the relics of the saints – and to help them see our future glory: sainthood. A catechesim on the cult and the relics of the saints is to be given as a preparation for this wonderful feastday.
            In the Ordinary Form, because there’s no proper for the feast Sacrarum Reliquiarum, we could use the votive Mass for All Saints, following the readings on November 1. And for the Extraordinary Form, the proper is used.

Reflection
Auge in nobis, Dómine, resurrectiónis fidem,
qui in Sanctórum tuórum relíquiis mirabília operáris:
et fac nos immortális glóriæ partícipes,
cujus in eórum cinéribus pígnora venerámur.
Per Dóminum.
(Missale Romanum, 1962)

Lord, increase our faith in the resurrection;
who in the relics of your saints work wonders:
make us partakers of your eternal glory,
the reward of the ashes which we venerate.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Personal Translation)

            Venerating the relics of the saints is not a cult of the dead but of the living. There is resurrection, and we believe in it. The resurrection of the body is a truth of our faith which we need to believe everyday so that we may be inspired to avoid sin and do holy works.
            Holiness is attained in two ways: care for the body so that the soul may be secured, and nourishment of the soul in order that the body may be strengthened. We need to be inspired. We need holy men and women to inspire us to holiness.
            Caring for the relics is a way of strengthening the dignity and sanctity of the body that God has given us. Desecration of the relics is a sacrilege not only towards the saints, but also to the Body of Christ – where we are all part.
            Let us rejoice in the holy men and women of every time and place. May their prayers bring us God’s forgiveness and love, and help us to be worthy to enter eternal glory (Preface for All Saints), the reward of the holy people. Amen.

Bibliography
1.      Catechism of the Catholic Church
2.      Compendium on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
3.      Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Vatican II
4.      1962 Missale Romanum
5.      Roman Martyrology


[1] A reliquary must not be placed upon the altar or set into the table of the altar; it must be placed beneath the table of the altar, as the design of the altar permits (Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, 5).