Just weeks after celebrating the Resurrection, the faithful of the Diocese of St. Augustine will have the opportunity to venerate the sacred remains of the church’s heroes.
Father Carlos Martins, CC, a Custos Reliquiarum (ecclesiastically appointed Curate of Relics), will return to Florida this May, with a Vatican exhibit of more than 160 relics* of saints canonized by the Catholic Church. It is highlighted by one of the largest remaining relics of the True Cross in the world, as well as a piece of the veil that, according to ancient tradition, is believed to have belonged to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Martins begins each exposition with a 60-minute presentation and teaching on relics which provides the catechetical and spiritual basis for the Walk with the Saints that follow the presentation. The point of the teaching is the presentation of the basic Gospel message of Jesus Christ: that God is here right now and wants to be encountered; He touches us through the lives and the sacred remains of his saints.
“God never disappoints … he always ‘shows up,’” remarks Father Martins. “There are healings at every exposition. Thousands have been reported since this ministry began. Spectacular ones. Attendees have reported cancer, heart disease, tumors, osteoporosis, physical deformities, etc., disappear immediately and completely.” Though a great number of miracles have been physical (his website lists a sample of these), he admits that the most spectacular are the healing of faith where a new and deeper relationship with God and his saints are formed in the faithful. “It is a most wonderful thing to see a parish, school, or prison renewed after an exposition. That is the basis for this ministry’s existence.”
Standing-room-only crowds are typical at each location he visits. Invitations from bishops and pastors desiring to host an exposition regularly pour into his office. “Many who attend the expositions experience a renewal of faith and are deeply moved by their encounters with these treasures of the church,” remarks Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, has hosted over 80 expositions in his diocese alone, adds, “As models and intercessors, the saints are our benefactors, aiding us with the example of their lives and by their prayers, something that [Father Martins] has worked hard to instill in every Catholic.”
Since converting from atheism 25 years ago, Father Martins has worked closely with the Vatican to bring this renowned collection of relics to churches, schools and prisons throughout the world. The collection includes relics of St. Mary Magdalene, the Apostles, St. Joseph, St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ignatius Loyola, and St. Faustina Kowalska.
The first parish in the diocese to host the exhibition of relics is St. Patrick’s in Gainesville, 500 NE 16th Ave. The exhibit will open at 6:30 p.m. in the church on Wednesday, May 4.
Other churches in the diocese to host the exhibit:
- May 28: Santa Maria del Mar Parish, Flagler Beach
- May 30: St. Patrick Parish, Jacksonville
- May 31: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Palm Coast
- June 1: Holy Spirit Parish, Jacksonville
See www.treasuresofthechurch.com for an up-to-date listing of exposition times and locations. Admission is free.
*Note: The Catholic tradition of venerating relics is like a family continuing to cherish the belongings of a relative that died. It’s a sign of respect, of nearness, or remembrance. Veneration of relics isn’t worship, but simply a way to honor and draw near to the saints, petitioning for their prayers, since they are believed to be so close to God. Scriptural references for God’s acting through relics can be found at http://www.treasuresofthechurch.com/about-relics.