About a year and a half ago, I was privileged to attend a public veneration brought to a local parish, St. Agnes, by Father Carlos Martins. This veneration is called "Treasures of the Church" and is comprised of over 200 first class relics. Father Carlos travels the whole of N. America in order to bring these treasured parts of our history to the people. It's absolutely incredible.
Included in this trove of thechas are relics of the True Cross, the veil of Our Lady (SQUEE!), the apostles, and so many others. There is a complete listing of the saints included on the website (linked above).
The best part of all this? It's completely FREE! Father Carlos just requests that he be given a place to stay (rectory works!) after he presents and leads veneration. After opening with a prayer, Fr. Carlos gives a brief history on relics, thechas and a particular saint. Upon completion, he opens the floor to public veneration of the relics (which are set up on tables all around the church or meeting hall). We were encouraged to bring medals, rosaries or other items with us to touch to each relic. I, myself, brought two crucifixes and a rosary.
There must have been about 300 of us present that night - maybe more. Who knows? It was incredible, though. Everyone was so reverent and moved. To have so much of our blessed history before us in a way we could see and feel... there simply are no words.
Several of us even smelled a strong scent of roses coming from the thecha holding St. Peter's relic. At first we thought it was perfume someone was wearing, but we started blushing at one another when we realized we kept cycling back one-by-one to disprove the perfume theory. Ha ha.
Anyway, I was trying to help Father Carlos bring Treasures of the Church to the Baltimore / Virginia area, but I've had little to no luck. Being from Philadelphia / S. Jersey, I don't have any contacts in that region. However, he's going to be there the 3rd week in July. Are any of my readers from that area that might be interested in hosting Father Carlos? He's looking for one or two parishes and I would love to put you into direct connection with him. All you need is permission from your pastor and he takes care of all the rest. You won't regret it. I promise!
Even if you don't think July is a good time, check out his mission site. It's so truly incredible and is such a parish-building experience. File it away for later... maybe the beginning of the school year or around Christmas. Father Carlos books at least 12-14 months out, so to have an opportunity like this come up? It doesn't happen very often. Maybe one of you are meant to make something of it.
I hope so!