Our Relic Tour Blog

Read about the latest news happening with the Apostolate for Holy Relics tour.

Coming Home

Written by: Denise Serafini on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, September 14th, we received the grace of being able to present at St. Joseph’s Church in Winsted, CT. I was privileged to be a member of that parish in my teen years. I loved being part of that grand parish that should be recognized as one of the most beautiful gothic style churches. It has been Winsted's connection to the Roman Catholic Church, in the Franciscan tradition since its inception, more than 150 years ago. It is currently managed by Father Chris Gaffrey, OFM, from the Franciscans of Immaculate Conception Province. His pastoral mission is centered in the Eucharist and inspired by St. Francis of Assisi. It so happens that the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is a special day for Father Chris in that it is the anniversary of his ordination into the diaconate. He also noted that this special feast of the Church is "coincidently" the anniversary of the day upon which St. Francis received the Stigmata of Christ. Father Chris pointed out one of the many great frescoes in the church that depicts that significant moment in the life of St. Francis. As many of you may know, I have dedicated my role in this apostolate to the care and guidance of St. Joseph. I could see his special hand in arranging for this event. We had a last minute reschedule from another parish that had the date locked in for more than 8 months. When I approached Father Chris to propose that an event be hosted at St. Joseph’s, he made arrangements in a very short window and the attendance was significant. Not only did the arrangements fall into place quickly, I feel certain, from the comments we received from those in attendance, that the Holy Spirit filled that church to overflowing with His graces, all through the merits of St. Joseph. Personally, I was touched by that special feeling of returning to the comforts and sweet reminiscence of my foundation in faith and the spiritual teachings that I received so many years ago, in that church, with great Franciscan priests.

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Significant Stops in the 'Show Me' State

Written by: Denise Serafini on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Our schedule for Missouri this time (we did a tour with several parishes in St. Louis earlier this year) was focused on the major churches of each of the dioceses of St. Louis and Cape Girardeau-Springfield. Just five days before we arrived it so happens that the Cape Girardeau- Springfield diocese welcomed a new bishop. The installation of His Excellency, Bishop Edward M. Rice had just been featured on EWTN at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church in Springfield, the same church where our last presentation in Missouri was scheduled. These events required that we complete our events and make the trip to our next destination regardless of the distance between venues. It so happens that Cape Girardeau is only a short two hour ride from St. Louis. The distance between Cape Girardeau is more than double that. but we made the best of it and kept to our time tables for arrivals and departures to make it all work. I was so touched by all the members of the clergy, old friends and members of the various parishes we visited during this part of the tour. I was so touched by all the members of the clergy, old friends and members of the various parishes we visited during this part of the tour. Although I think the spirit of their slogan, ‘Show Me State’ is intended to put outsiders on notice that they have to demonstrate their worth to be acknowledged, I feel like Missouri led by example in this case, by showing us their faith in action in their warm congeniality and acts of charity, mercy and spirituality.

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Highways, Byways and Avenues

Written by: Denise Serafini on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

While we were on our way back from Denver to St. Louis, I was amazed to find that there’s a major route between St. Paul, Minnesota and St. Louis, Missouri named Avenue of the Saints. I couldn’t quite figure out why we were on several different routes as we travelled and yet the sign we kept seeing was consistently labeled Avenue of the Saints. All I could think was that the saints were leading us to St. Louis. Well I was somewhat right. It seems that the Avenue of the Saints was the concept of businessman Ernest Hayes of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, who in the 1980s envisioned a four-lane highway between St. Paul and St. Louis. In 1991 the Avenue of the Saints became an official "high-priority corridor," and signs were put along the route by the end of the year. Although the road includes a host of roads, we traveled on interstates #61, #27, #35, #64, #70, #72, #80, #380, and #20. I’m sure you can see how I got so confused with so many different major routes involved, and we never even touched the Minnesota routes – We’ll save that for our tours from Ohio, through Wisconsin and Minnesota in the Fall. Regardless of the perhaps confusing concepts, I do believe we ended up on that route for a reason. I believe it allowed us to be mindful of the precious cargo we carry in our travels and the fact that we need all the saints to accompany us for their support as well as their protection.

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Making the Opportunity Count

Written by: Denise Serafini on Monday, May 30, 2016

On Saturday Morning, May 28 we travelled to the Diocesean Seat in Colorado Springs at the Cathedral of St. Mary. Although small for what one would consider a cathedral, we had a standing room only crowd. We were honored to have Bishop Michael Sheridan in attendance along with the rector-pastor for the church, Father David Price. Several other priests and seminarians were in attendance. Father Price incensed the relics to open the event and three parishioners read the meditations. Bishop Sheridan read the prayers. The event ended with a very long process for veneration. Since the donation baskets were in the rear of the church and we only had enough color guard members to manage the veneration process, I was assigned to keep watch over the donations. It was probably the best set of circumstances I could have hoped for. One man came in, approached me and asked what was going on. I asked him if he had been in the church during the program. He said no so I explained the nature of the event and proceeded to highlight the significance of each of the relics. I suggested that he take advantage of the opportunity to join the rest of the lay faithful in veneration. He then proceeded to tell me that he was at home and repeatedly got the idea he should rush over to the cathedral. He had no idea that there would be an event in progress when he arrived. This man was so taken with what had just happened to him that he stayed in prayerful contemplation until the last item was packed and ready to be moved out.

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A Final Round, In the Round

Written by: Denise Serafini on Monday, May 30, 2016

Queen of Peace Church in Aurora, Colorado is a mixture of modern architecture with traditional artwork put together in a full round. It has large stained window elements as well as multiple pieces of beautiful Orthodox iconography reflective of the fact that it is one of the largest and most culturally and ethnically diverse parishes in the diocese. With parishioners representing over 60 nations, the diversity of the parish community is a manifestation of the universality of God’s love in the Catholic Church, which is the Body of Christ. We went there on Friday, May 27 for a combined English and Spanish presentation of Relics of the Passion. Baptismal fonts here in Colorado are styled to be suitable for full immersion. Jean and I decided to use the baptismal font in this church to fill our holy water bottles. It always helps to spray a little bit around the hotels rooms we stay in. When I bent down to fill the bottles I really felt like I was going to go a little too far and end up in the water. It must be a factor of the effects you get due to the elevation here in the Mile High City. The relics were presented in a circular formation around the entire altar. It made for a beautiful presentation. Two parishioners did a wonderful job of reading the meditations and Father Jose Chicas presided over the event. Other priests, including Father Mathias Bayiha joined the attending faithful in the pews. I was amazed to see individuals that had been at other events in the area, some of them joining us for the third or fourth time.

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Singing, Devotion and the Poor

Written by: Denise Serafini on Monday, May 30, 2016

We had the honor of bringing Relics of the Passion to a small Spanish Church on the 26th of May. This little church just on the western edge of the Denver city limits has a population of very devout parishioners. If you are unfamiliar with St. Cajetan, he is noted for seeking out the sick and poor of the town and serving them. He founded a monte de pieta (“mountain [or fund] of piety”) in Naples — one of many charitable, nonprofit credit organizations that lent money on the security of pawned objects. The purpose was to help the poor and protect them against usurers. When doctors tried to get him to rest on a softer bed than the boards he slept on, Cajetan answered, "My savior died on a cross. Let me at least die on wood." We were greeted by yet another group of knights that thankfully helped us unpack and set things up since we were just a little delayed in getting there. The Grand Knight for the supporting K of C council was involved in helping us to feel at home. Similar to one of the churches we visited in Las Vegas, we had the added help of a homeless man, Javier, that stays close to the church to talk with people and attend events. He was very respectful, handling our equipment with care. What would a church named in honor of St. Cajetan be if it weren’t for visible interaction with the poor?

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He Is With Us

Written by: Denise Serafini on Monday, May 30, 2016

Our next stop in Colorado was in Lakewood on May 25th at St. Jude’s Church. This church had an odd “S” shaped set of steps and levels around the altar, but I was particularly taken with the face of the Crucified Jesus on the Cross above the main altar. The Reverend Deacon Mike Bunch presided over the evening’s event, agreeing to have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament included in the meditative portion of the program. This was definitely a holy event. All went well and the additional intercessions for events that include Eucharistic Exposition were wrapped into the meditative portion of the program. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming silence that accompanied this event. I never heard a cough, sneeze, sniffle, crying baby or other sound that would be normal in a building filled with people. The only sounds were those of the cantor and musicians during the interludes. Then there was an overwhelming feeling of love that seemed to permeate the church during veneration. People definitely noticed. We joined a number of parishioners in the hall for refreshments. One woman came to talk to me as I was getting a glass of juice. She intimated to me that there is a group of women that consistently prays that Jesus will blanket the parish community with His love and grace. Bells and whistles went off in my mind. It may well have been that this so-called “blanket of love” was exactly what people were feeling.

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Our New Site Feature

Written by: Denise Serafini on Friday, May 27, 2016

In Matthew 7:8 we learn that "... everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." In support of that verse, we are pleased to provide a new way that you can participate in the Relics of the Passion presentations regardless of where you are. We have created a new feature on our website that allows you to submit a petition to be offered up at our next presentation of Relics of the Passion. Just click on the PETITIONS link in the menu bar and all you have to do is type in your petition. You are welcome to submit petitions for the individuals you wish to lift up in prayer, whatever special needs for which you'd like to have Jesus give special attention or even an offering of thanksgiving for prayers answered. We print out the list of newly submitted intentions just before we leave for a scheduled event. We place the list of petitions under the Relic of the Holy Nail with our added prayers for those intentions. The petitions are then present throughout the presentation and handed over to the presiding priest or deacon for disposition after the event. We encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity for added prayers commending your intentions to the wounds and sufferings of Jesus in His Passion. "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard." Psalm 22:24

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All About Family

Written by: Denise Serafini on Friday, May 27, 2016

On the evening of Tuesday, May 24, we were hosted at St. Mary’s Church in Littleton, Colorado. The priests at this parish are members of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a religious order founded in Spain in 1987, whose mission is to build up the Church as a family of families. They appear to be true to their mission since there were a great number of families in attendance. Father Javier Nieva, the parish pastor, presided over the first half of the program and had to leave for another commitment. Father James de Cendra, Parochial Vicar, arrived to assume the role for the second half. He stayed through the remainder of the meditative portion of the program and held the Relic of the True Cross throughout veneration. I watched as parents with young children took special care to instruct their youngsters in the appropriate way to venerate and touch sacramentals to the relics. The fruits of the parish mission to build up the Church as a family of families were evident in the stories we heard. One young girl noted that she had been chosen to head up a youth group at the college she will be attending because of her extensive experience with youth related activities in her parish. These fruits are based on a Families of Bethany program that builds on family at every level, from preschool through high school ages and beyond. The program is a supplementary faith enrichment experience that offers parishioners a solid guide on the path to holiness. They have various “Discipleship Nights” for discussion and catechesis on the role of the family as well as activities challenging young people to love Christ and live the Gospel through small group discipleship and large group meetings.

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We All Have a Role

Written by: Denise Serafini on Friday, May 27, 2016

We were up early on Tuesday, May 24, to arrive at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Northglenn, Colorado to set up before 8:30 AM Mass. As I stepped into the church I noticed that it has perpetual adoration in a side chapel just as you enter the door. What a wonderful feeling it was to have the Blessed Sacrament right along side of us as we unloaded to set everything up so the relics of Our Lord’s Passion could be present during the celebration of Holy Mass. We were greeted by Brandon Young, Director for Communications for this church. Brandon arranged to have a photographer available and I will be happy to share the photos as soon as he gets the opportunity to send them to us. I can see the need for Brandon’s role at this church since it is such a large church with thousands of families that make up the parish. Morning Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church is very well attended. There must have been at least 250-300 people at this Mass. Father Joseph Doman was the celebrant for the Mass. His homily was all about responding to the call to do the will of the Father. Although we all have free will, the Father calls each of us to a specific role. It was the same for Jesus in His humanity. In the garden of olives, Jesus asked to have the cup of suffering removed, but submitted himself to the will of the Father. The result was the full manifestation of love. This priest related that he, himself, had plans to marry his childhood sweetheart, go into business with his brother, live next door to each other and raise children. When he believed all his plans for life were about to be realized he got the call to the priesthood.

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