Searching for First Class Relics

My church has a new chapel and I’m searching for First Class Relics that could be displayed for the Faithful. Can anyone help me? I know it is not right for them to be bought and sold and I am aware of the problems of trying to find them on the internet. Thanks for any help. Peace & Joy.

I think that the most prudent thing to do is to contact your local diocese about this. I don’t think that the laity would have easy access to relics.

My mother left two of them to me, because she worked at DST> Patrick’s parish in Brooklyn many years ago. One is in a beautiful gold cross. It is of St. Anthony and one is of St. Jude, I do not know how they can be transfered.

My father has a first class relic. It is a bone fragment from St. Theresa. He knows that it is wrong for him to have it. He will not part with it. Along with the relic is a contract which is written in Latin. I believe that the contract states that the owner will never sell the relic.

It is unlikely that you will be able to obtain a first-class relic without the help of your diocese. About a decade ago the Vatican cracked-down on the practice of making first-class relics available to the general public. You can apply to the Reliquarium in Rome for a first-class relic if you have a letter from your bishop - it would have to state that the relic will be used for an altar or public veneration. The church of Santa Susanna - the patriarchal church for the United States in Rome provides the following information on first-class relics:

At one time, it was quite common to find a number of places in Rome that wouldallow you to acquire a relic. A relic can never be purchased because it is a holy object, but you would make an offering for the metal case in which it came. The largest collection of relics in Rome belongs to the Vatican and it kept at the Lateran. Actually they are kept at a small convent nearby. The practice of making relics available to the public ended more than ten years ago at the insistence of the Vatican. Today you can apply to this Reliquarium for a specific relic only with a Nihil Obstat or a letter of permission from your local bishop. You must also state that the relic is to be used for a church altar or other public religious purpose. The private ownership of relics is highly discouraged.”

So, my advice would be to contact the diocesan office - or ask your priest to help you do so; this is your best bet because then the Reliquarium will consider the request more seriously - especially if the new chapel has an altar, or if it is going to be dedicated to a particular saint. Be extremely wary of relics which you may find on the internet.

Are you still looking for a 1st class relic? I see you posted over 10 months ago. However, I’m a new member here and thought I might be able to help.

Yes, please!

I will be honest, the notion of Relic is an aspect of Catholicism that I find very difficult to understand.

What good can a piece of bone or a bloodstained cloth be, even if it came from Jesus Christ Himself? Can it lead me to live a more moral life, or give me a more thorough understanding or the Faith, or forgive my sins?

God gave us the Bible, the Church, the Sacraments, and His Son. How can that not be enough already?

“What good can a piece of bone or a bloodstained cloth be, even if it came from Jesus Christ Himself”?

  • Tell that to the woman afflicted with a hemorrhage for twelve years in Luke 8. She did not even meet Jesus before she merely touched a tassel on His cloak. Immediately the bleeding stopped. The same miracle is recounted in Mark 5 - the woman, according to Mark, said “If I but touch His clothes, I shall be cured”.

Indeed, Christ’s response to the woman was that her faith had saved her - it wasn’t merely a simple act of touching His cloak. She needed faith.

Relics of saints work in the same way. They are not to be treated as lucky charms. However, the can be valuable pointers for the faithful as they journey through life - they can aid prayer, or help a person to more closely imitate a particular saint, or unite themselves closely in difficult times with a saint who also suffered. The veneration of relics can be most meritorious.

What the Church teaches is most certainly enough. No one is obliged to own relics, or to have a devotion to a particular saint. You could say the same about many Catholic practices - the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, etc. - these are “optional” devotions which some people feel particularly drawn to. However, as I said, they are “pointers” or “signposts” to God - you could say they give some people a spiritual boost. But if you stay close to the Church’s teachings (which actually encourage veneration of sacred images and relics) then you may be sure that you are already on the right path!

However, it is worth reiterating, that one should be very wary when looking for relics, especially over the internet. Personal ownership of first-class relics is strongly discouraged, and hence the proper channel to go through is to apply to the Reliquarium in Rome - I would suggest this course of action for the O.P… As stated earlier, it is absolutely forbidden to sell relics (Can. 1190 #1).

I recall the topic of First Class Relics coming up many months ago. I have a number of them and have wondered how I could so readily get them - WITHOUT any diocesan reference. My first relic was that of St. John Neumann (when he was still Blessed) from his shrine in Phildaelphia. I also obtained several major First Class Relics from a Church in Rome. I can’t recall the name but had read about it before a trip there.

Included in those Relics are Saints’ relics - MAJOR Saints - as well as a Relic (a splinter) of the True Cross and a piece of Our Lady’s Veil. These latter two mentioned Relics would be what I would consider impossible for anyone but the Church to have. Where does one keep them? I do not feel worthy - as well as wonder if my concern makes me commit a sin of sorts. I only expose The True Cross on Good Friday. Our Lady’s veil remains exposed in its small, round reliquary in an unused room but hanging from the right hand of the Infant of Prague. I have considered asking a Church if they would want them but - at the same time - wonder am I parting with Treasures. Do I deserve to have them?

I suppose it depends on when you got the relics - I gather that it is only in recent years (the past decade or so) that the Church has put tighter restrictions on the ownership of relics. So now there is a clear and proper channel for those who wish to obtain a first-class relic to go through: the Reliquarium in Rome.

There are a lot of individuals, it seems, who own first-class relics: I have heard of a number of sad cases where, in the post-Vatican II confusion, some churches simply gave away precious relics. One could ask, what would have happened to the relics had a parishioner not taken ownership of one or more of them. I suppose the point I’m making is that it’s not necessarily wrong for an individual to own a first-class relic as there are many legitimate means by which they could have been obtained, though the chances of getting one today are probably quite slim. I think the Church’s position is quite reasonable, as she wants precious relics to be available for veneration by all of the faithful.

If you were to give your relics to a church, you would certainly be parting with treasures; on the other hand, you could be giving treasure to countless people who might have the opportunity to venerate them. My personal opinion is that there probably isn’t a particular obligation on you to make them available to the faithful, as you obtained them honestly and presumably before the Church put those restrictions in place. What is important, as I see it, is that you yourself are using them for their purpose - veneration: I have seen a number of people listing off the relics that they own, and one can’t help but get the impression that they are more interested in having a collection of relics than venerating their collection of relics.

those with first class relics, would you be so kind and say a prayer for me and ask the saint to join me in prayer for my miracle of marriage between that scared young man and I.

he is a wonderful good loving catholic who has been really really hurt and damaged.

Only God can heal him.

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