BODY OF ST. MARIA GORETTI
COMING TO DIOCESE CATHEDRAL
Pope Francis has personally requested that the body of Saint Maria Goretti -- the popular "girl martyr" of the twentieth century -- be brought to the United States in preparation for the Year of Mercy.
The relic will be at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Belleville on Monday, October 19.
Maria Goretti is a young patron, not only of purity, but of "mercy" -- as Pope Francis has explained. Her greatest virtue was her unyielding forgiveness of her attacker, even in the midst of her physical suffering. Her forgiveness would completely convert him and send him on a path to personal holiness. From the time that she forgave her assassin, St. Maria Goretti has been heralded as a Patroness of Mercy. This beloved girl, murdered at only eleven years of age, is widely known as "the Little Saint of Great Mercy."
Her merciful and persistent forgiveness, and her desire to dedicate her life to God, made her a true disciple of Jesus. As such, St. Maria Goretti especially embodies what Pope Francis desires the entire Church to become.
The major relic of St. Maria Goretti will be in the Cathedral of St. Peter, Belleville on Monday October 19 from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Bishop Edward K. Braxton will celebrate the Mass of the "child martyr" at 7:00 pm. (The relics will also visit some 40 other Cathedrals and basilicas in the United States.)
From time to time, typically on great and solemn occasions -- such as the upcoming Year of Mercy -- the Church announces an extraordinary pilgrimage of the relics of a saint. Hearing anew the saint's story, the people of God have the opportunity for a special spiritual "closeness" to the saint and the graces of her life in the Lord, to be renewed in the life of all the Church.
From its very beginning, the Church has regarded the relics of the saints as among its most sacred possessions. The source of this belief is divine revelation: the Word of God teaches us that relics are connected with the Holy Spirit, Indeed, St. Paul reminds us that bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, temples in whom He actually resides (1 Cor 6:9).
Maria Goretti (1980-1902) is the youngest canonized saint in the history of the Church.
Bishop Braxton has reminded Catholics that the veneration of her relics is not a matter of mere superstition or even excessive piety. The relics of the saints, the Bishop explained, point us to Jesus Christ -- "the Word made Flesh." Believing in Christ, we also believe in "the resurrection of the body, and the life of the world to come."
In the Belleville Diocese, the pilgrimage of St. Maria Goretti's relics will be part of the preparation for the "Year of Mercy."
For more information on the Pilgrimage of Mercy of the Relics of St. Maria Goretti, go to mariagoretti.com.