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The Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus

Why Do We Venerate Relics?

To venerate is to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference; to honor (as an icon or a relic) with a ritual act of devotion.

As you can see above, veneration is not worship.  Nor do we believe that relics contain magical powers.  We do however, believe that God’s holy work is accomplished through good and holy people like our great saints.  We believe that even death, as Jesus proved on the cross, cannot thwart His plans and His work continues through the saints even after their death.

Apart from countess miracles that have come to pass in association with these holy reminders over the centuries, relics also serve as our connection to our past.  They are reminders that our saints are not simply names in a book or make believe people.  They were real, living and breathing people just like us who struggled with many of the same difficulties and doubts that we live with every day.  But through it all they remained true to God’s grace and God’s love and God’s work in their lives.  The remind us of the reality of the Communion of the Saints.

Relics also remind us that one day too our bodies, just like Christ’s, will be resurrected.  This should lead us to remember to revere the beauty and complexity of God’s great gift of the human body to and lead us to respect our bodies and the remains of the deceased.