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Relic of St. John Paul II to Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC

Image: Relic of St. John Paul II to Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC In this Oct. 7, 1995, file photo, Pope John Paul II, now known as St. John Paul II, waves from the front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

By Nick Sanchez   |   Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 09:09 AM

A major relic of St. John Paul II will visit St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on July 12 and 13, the second stop on its East Coast tour.

The tour is sponsored by the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., and the Knights of Columbus, who will together debut a new 16,000-square-foot exhibit on John Paul's life and legacy later this summer.

"St. John Paul spent more time in the United States than any other pope before or since, shaping an entire generation of Catholics here and throughout the world," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told the National Catholic Register during the relic's first tour stop at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross in late June.

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"Bringing his relic to communities throughout this country will recall for many Catholics his saintly life, his unswerving commitment to the dignity of every human person and his emphasis on the call to holiness for each one of us."

The relic consists of a vial of John Paul's blood. It's set in a golden reliquary "decorated with 12 red stones representing the Twelve Apostles," according to the shrine's official website. Crafted by Wiesław Domański, a member of Saint Brother Albert Council 14332 in Lublin, the reliquary features an image of John Paul, as well as his coat of arms.

A similar relic, a piece of the blood-stained cassock that John Paul wore on the day of his assassination attempt in 1981, also made a visit to Baltimore in late June as part of the tour.

During the stop in New York, the relic will be available for public veneration throughout the afternoon and evenings on both Saturday and Sunday following each morning's Mass. Cardinal Timothy Dolan will conclude the visit with the 5:30 p.m. evening Mass on Sunday.

"There was no greater champion of human rights in our lifetime than St. John Paul, who reminded us that those rights begin with religious liberty and the rights of conscience," Anderson said in a statement ahead of the New York visit.

"He did this most memorably in the first year of his papacy when he returned to Poland and brought there the hope of freedom, and again when he spoke so clearly on behalf of religious freedom at the U.N. in New York."

As part of the tour, the relic will also visit Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on July 20.

A full schedule of events for all cities on the tour can be found at JP2Shrine.org.

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