St. Stanislaus Kostka Church installed a first-class relic of Blessed John Paul II on May 6 at the church’s shrine honoring Our Lady of Czestochowa and the late pope during a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Bishop Matthew H. Clark.
The relic is a small piece of cloth from one of the late pope’s cassocks, which was stained with a drop of his blood while he was in the hospital during his final illness. The veneration of relics, according to the parish, is an ancient custom dating from the reverence shown at the graves of early Christian martyrs.
The relic was given to the parish by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow and a close friend of Blessed John Paul II. Cardinal Dziwisz served the late pope as a personal secretary for nearly 40 years.
The relic was enclosed in a cross-shaped reliquary and was placed on the altar in a small cabinet built by woodworker John Bailey of Lima, who also built the altar.
The shrine, which was created in 2008, also features an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa painted in Poland by Anna Maria Torwit and a portrait of Pope John Paul II painted by Cameron Smith of North Carolina.
Fourteen children from the parish’s religious-education program received their first Communion during the service, and a reception took place after Mass.
The Mass and installation marked the first anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s beatification.