ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Updated: April 06, 2018 04:18 AM GMT
Father Reggie Malecdem, rector of Manila Cathedral, holds the relic of Saint John Paul II, a vial of containing the blood of the late pope. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
The Archdiocese of Manila will be the custodian of a precious relic of St. Pope John Paul II — his blood, which will be the object of veneration in the Philippine capital starting on April 7.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisw, Pope John Paul II's former secretary, gave the archdiocese the vial as a gift for the 60th anniversary of Manila Cathedral's reconstruction after World War II.
"This precious gift ... is truly a source of consolation and help especially for those who are suffering physical illnesses," read a statement from Manila Cathedral.
Relics have always received particular veneration and attention in the Catholic Church because of the belief that the bodies of saints have become instruments of their holiness.
"Let those who have special intentions and petitions come in veneration and prayer," read the statement.
Father Reggie Malecdem, rector of Manila Cathedral, said it was a "great honor" for the church to be the custodian of the relic.
"We did not expect that Cardinal Dziwisz would send us still liquified blood," said the priest during a media briefing in Manila on April 5.
A Poland-based Filipino nun brought the relic to Manila on Dec. 11, 2017. It is the first ever blood relic of a saint still in liquid form in the Philippines.
Towards the end of the late pope's life, doctors extracted blood from him in case there was a need for an emergency transfusion.
The blood is still in liquid form because of an anti-coagulant substance present in the test tubes at the moment of extraction.
There are only seven vials of liquid blood belonging to the saint enshrined in different churches around the world.
The relic is placed inside a reliquary, which is the exact copy of the one that was presented during the pope's beatification and canonization.
"Let us come together as we welcome home the presence of our beloved Pope John Paul II and receive the graces and miracles through his powerful intercession," said the priest.
Pope John Paul II, who served as pontiff from 1978 to 2005, celebrated Mass at the cathedral during his five-day visit to the Philippines in February 1981.
Two months later, he declared the cathedral a minor basilica.
In January 1995, he again visited Manila for World Youth Day, which was attended by an estimated four million people.
Born on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, Pope John Paul II was ordained in 1946. He became the bishop of Ombi in 1958, and became the archbishop of Krakow in 1964.
He was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967, and in 1978 became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years.
He died at the age of 84 at the Vatican on April 2, 2005. He was beatified on May 1, 2011, by Pope Benedict XVI, his immediate successor.
He was canonized on April 27, 2014, together with Pope John XXIII.
….As we enter the first months of 2022, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.