Catholic Devotion to Relics

Catholic devotion to relics has been an important aspect of the faith for centuries. Relics are objects associated with a saint or a holy person and therefore have great spiritual significance. The veneration of relics has been a way for Catholics to connect with their “older brothers and sisters” in faith and love.

The word relics comes from the Latin reliquiae (the counterpart of the Greek leipsana), which already before the propagation of Christianity, was used in its modern sense, viz., of some object, notably part of the body or clothes, remaining as a memorial of a departed saint.

The Bible records many instances of divine grace and blessing being imparted through relics or some physical article associated with a holy person or thing. Here are just a few examples:

Mark 5:27-29  When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. [28] For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. [29] And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. (cf. Lk 8:43-48)

John 9:6-7 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, [7] And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

2 Kings 13:21  And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

Exodus 30:28-29 (KJV) And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. [29] And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. (cf. 29:37; Lev 6:18, 27)

2 Kings 2:13-14  He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; [14] And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

For more references, we invite you to visit this excellent article titled Biblical Proofs and Evidence for Relics from National Catholic Register.

The veneration of relics, in fact, is, to some extent, a primitive instinct, and it is associated with many other religious systems besides that of Christianity. The veneration of relics is also like keeping a memento of a loved one who has passed and honoring their life and memory through the memento.

One of the most famous relics is the Shroud of Turin, which many believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The shroud is kept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, and is only displayed to the public on rare occasions. Many scientists have confirmed the shroud’s authenticity. It remains a powerful symbol of their faith for many Catholics and other Christians.

Catholics around the world also venerate the relics of saints. These relics can be anything from a piece of clothing to a bone fragment or something touched to the holy person’s remains. Many famous saints have relics that are associated with them, including Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and Saint Francis of Assisi.

Relics hold a special place in the hearts of many Catholics worldwide. Whether it is the Shroud of Turin or the relics of a beloved saint, these objects serve as a powerful reminder of the spiritual power and significance of our God working throughout history, often through holy persons during their life and even after their death.

Here at The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, we are blessed to have on display a large number of relics. From the relic of a True Cross of Jesus to over 100 other relics from saints throughout the centuries.

The Shrine is also having an event hosting the relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis and Saint Manuel Gonzalez Garcia. You can review our upcoming events by clicking here.

For a deeper discussion on the Catholic doctrine of relics, we invite you to read this article from

Please remember to visit our events page for The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church. You can review our upcoming events by clicking here.