MANILA – The relics of Pope John Paul II, who is set to be canonized on Sunday,will be on display in several areas in the country until June.
Pope John Paul II’s relics, along with those that belong to other saints, are part of the Totus Tuus Tour which has started to make rounds in the country this month.
Totus Tuus Tour Chairman Brother Dave Dela Cruz said the tour is important for Catholics as it will strengthen their faith.
"These are very important, especially in our faith, because it doesn’t only represent the saints. It is part of the being of that saint. Being is very important because it is the person himself. So when a person or a Catholic prays before this relic, [it will be] as if they are talking in front of that saint, in front of that person," Dela Cruz said.
Dela Cruz said that the tour will exhibit various relics of Pope John Paull II including his blood, hair, medallions, greeting card and a piece of the cassock he wore when he was still the pope.
He said that they obtained the piece of cassock when they wrote to the Vatican years ago to express their condolences over Pope John Paul II’s passing.
“It is a very big piece of cassock or the sutana of the Pope that he wore every day when he was still the pope. This was given by the private secretary of John Paul II. When he died, we wrote to him, expressing our condolences. Then he gave us this piece of clothing when he was not yet a blessed. And it was really a surprise!” he added.
Aside from its scheduled tours in Metro Manila, the Totus Tuus Tour will be touring the provinces of Davao, Batangas and Capiz.
The tour will only be in the Philippines until June 1, although an extension may be possible.
It will also showcase relics of Pope John XXIII who is also set to be canonized on Sunday.
The Totus Tuus Tour is expecting additional items that will be delivered from Rome, including Pope John Paul II’s pallium and other skull caps.
Meanwhile, Dela Cruz said that there are many classifications of relics.
According to him, relics may be categorized into first, second and third classes.
“First class relics came directly from the body of the saint like the hair, the blood, the bone. Second-class relics are objects or things that the saints used when he was still alive.”
“And we also have third class relics: these are our own personal objects like rosaries, handkerchiefs, that we touched to a first-class relic and sometimes, to a second class relic.”
He also said that the relics can only be venerated if the person they came from is already canonized.
However, Dela Cruz said that for a relic to be considered authentic, it must go through a process of validation.
“We need to consider the authenticity of the relics. Some relics are fake. We can see that in e-bay and in the internet. But all of these relics are sealed, authenticated, by officials, authorized people of the Vatican.”