Buying medals with relics


I once touched a prayer card to the glass of a case carrying one of St Padre Pio’s mittens. Would that still make a 3rd class relic, despite the card not having actually touched the fabric of the mitten?


You’re going to get differing answers on this. I think thistle has posted about it many times in the past threads.

The strict definition is that a third class relic has to actually physically touch either a first class relic (like the saint’s body part - open the reliquary and touch actual part) or the saint’s grave/ tomb. Touching to a second-class relic doesn’t do anything. Touching to the outside of a reliquary also doesn’t do anything.

Having said that, I have touched my own rosary to a whole bunch of Padre Pio reliquaries when they were on tour and also to a cross and chalice he used to celebrate Mass. Does it officially make it a third class relic according to the strict definition? Probably not. Is it sufficient to create some spiritual connection with Padre Pio so he’ll pray for me or pray along with me when I pray on that rosary? Probably yes, and that probably also could have happened by just me asking him directly and not bothering with the relics, but I wanted the connection for my own mind.

If I ever get a chance to go touch the relic to Padre Pio’s actual grave then I will do that and there will be no doubt then it will be a third-class relic. I’ve also touched two other rosaries to graves of Blesseds so when they become saints those will definitely be third-class relics of them. And I have a medal that I touched to the tomb of St. Katherine Drexel so that’s a third class relic too. I plan to touch one to the tomb of St. John Neumann soon as well.


I never knew touching an object to a saint’s grave or tomb created a 3rd class relic. If I am ever in the crypt under St Peter’s in the Vatican again, I will remember that, and not forgetting Pope St John Paul II upstairs either (although I think his tomb is a bit out of reach).


I wasn’t aware of it when I was there either, unfortunately. The tomb I am most sorry about not touching something to was St. Anthony’s, which you can freely touch. I did lean my hand and head against it and pray but if I ever get back there, a distinct possibility since there are many holy sites in Italy our tour didn’t stop at, I plan to touch a medal to St. Anthony’s tomb for sure.


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