Traveling exhibit of more than 15- saints’ relics shows staying power

Published 8:16 am Friday, June 8, 2018

By Jean Hopfensperger

Star Tribune via Associated Press

Catholic saints are best known as nearly life-size statues gazing down from church alcoves, mysterious figures from long ago. But an unusual traveling exhibit of more than 150 saints relics shows that they still capture hearts in the 21st century.

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The exhibit, called Treasures of the Church, is one of the larger collections to visit Minnesota. While the authenticity of many such relics has been questioned, the faithful lining up at churches over the past two weeks to view them are convinced they have the power to change lives, even create miracles.

I consider them my friends in heaven, said Holly Poulsen, a mother of two, touching her rosary and crucifix to one of the relics displayed at St. John the Baptist Church in Excelsior last week. Its like a friend is praying for you, but its more powerful because they are in heaven and closer to God.

While saints continue to be popular with many Catholics, venerating relics is less common today than centuries ago, in part because of concerns over authenticity and in part because of confusion over what it means to pray to a relic, religious leaders said.

The Rev. Alex Carlson, of St. Johns church, said he hoped to clear up misconceptions by inviting the exhibition to his church.