In Catholic tradition, a relic is an object associated with a saint that may be offered to the faithful for veneration. Since the soul of a saint is united with God in heaven, an object associated with a saint is meant to draw a person closer to God. Neither the relic nor the saint are to be worshipped. The teaching of the Church is very clear that we are never to worship anything or anyone other than God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We venerate relics as holy objects that are associated with saints who now live in God’s presence.
A relic is venerated in recognition of the fact that God has worked through a saint, and that an object associated with a saint is holy and can lead us to God. The healing power of relics comes from God alone and never from the object. Reference to an early form of relics can be found in the New Testament, when a women was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment (Mt 9:18-26) and when cloths touched by St. Paul were used to heal the sick and drive out demons (Acts 19:12). A more developed use of relics began during the persecution of the early Church, when the faithful would retrieve the bones of martyrs and place them under the altar for Mass. To this day, Catholic churches can place first-class relics in altar stones.
The relics we have for veneration so far are: St. Peter, Apostle, St. Bartholomew, Apostle, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Damian of Molakai, all of which were collected by Theology Teacher Mr. Terry Creel.