A New Exhibit at the Shrine Museum Explores the Role of Relics in Faith
As home to the largest sacred relic in New York City, St. Frances Cabrini Shrine greets many devoted visitors who arrive with the intention of drawing closer to Mother Cabrini both physically and spiritually.
We also greet Catholics who wander in not knowing much about Mother Cabrini. Many have never been near relics before, and don’t know what the Church teaches about them. Some feel a bit awkward because they don’t know what they are “supposed” to do.
The Shrine also has many non-Catholic neighbors who are more than a little puzzled by the whole idea of keeping relics on display.
So why do Catholics venerate the relics of saints? Is the practice superstitious, Biblical, a pious tradition, or something else? A new exhibit at the Shrine is designed to clear up confusion and educate curious minds on the fascinating role sacred relics have played in Christian faith over the centuries.
We begin by examining the Biblical roots of the practice, and look at what the Church Fathers had to say about it. From there we delve into how the Catholic Church authenticates relics today. There’s a section on apologetics (do Catholics worship saints? how can you pray to someone who’s dead?), and some fun history on the “translation” of Mother Cabrini to the Shrine.
The centerpiece, however, is more than 20 first-class relics from the collection of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus respectfully presented for public veneration.
We encourage you to stop in to linger and learn. The exhibit will be on display through March 31 in the Shrine’s museum, which is open whenever the Shrine is open.
We welcome groups, but because our museum space only accommodates a limited number of guests at a time ask that you call ahead to make arrangements. Our office phone is (212) 923-3536.