Manila Cathedral is one of 7 churches in the world with blood relic of St. John Paul II

Published April 5, 2018, 3:49 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Leslie Ann Aquino

There are only seven vials of the liquid blood relic of Saint Pope John Paul II enshrined in different churches around the world and one of them is at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.

Manila Cathedral Rector Fr. Reginald Malicdem looks on the first class relic of St, John Paul II at the Manila Cathedral during the unveiling ceremony Thursday.(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)
Manila Cathedral Rector Fr. Reginald Malicdem looks on the first class relic of St, John Paul II at the Manila Cathedral during the unveiling ceremony Thursday.(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

The other vials are at the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital, a pilgrim relic that belongs to the Postulator of the Cause of the Pope, the John Paul II Center in Krakow, Poland; the National Shrine and Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Cherash, Malaysia.

Father Reginald Malicdem, rector of the Manila Cathedral, said it was last year when they wrote the Vatican to request for relics of three important Popes who were recently beatified and canonized, and are closely connected to the cathedral.

He said they are St. Pope John XXIII, who was the pope during the rebuilding and dedication of the cathedral in 1958; Blessed Pope Paul VI, who celebrated Mass at the cathedral in 1970, while St. Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at the cathedral in 1981 and was also the one who elevated it to a Minor Basilica.

“We did not expect that Cardinal Stanislaw Dzowisz, former secretary of the Pope, would send us the relic of his still liquid blood,” Malicdem said in a press briefing Thursday where he unveiled for the first time the blood relic to the media.

The cardinal, he said, sent the vial of blood through Sr. Nancy Banares, a Filipina nun of the Sisters of the Visitation who is the Superior of the community in Bolechowise, Poland, with a personal letter to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and an authentication certificate of the relic.

According to the priest, it was towards the end of Pope John Paul II’s life with complications from Parkinson’s disease, when doctors extracted blood from him in case of an emergency transfusion.

There are four vials of blood that were never used. Two of the vials were held at Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome, and the other two were given to Archbishop Dizwisz.

Malicdem said the blood is in a “liquid state” because of an anti-coagulant substance present in the test tubes at the moment of extraction.

Placed inside a reliquary, which is the exact copy of the one that was presented during the Pope’s beatification and canonization in the Vatican, the blood relic will be presented to the public for veneration on Saturday, April 7, after the Welcome Mass at the cathedral to be presided by Cardinal Tagle.

The cathedral rector invited the public to attend Saturday’s event.

“This precious gift of John Paul II’s blood relic is truly a source of consolation and help especially for those who are suffering physical illnesses. Let St. John Paul II, who himself endured courageously his sickness, be the companion and intercessor in their journey,” said Malicdem.

“Let those who have special intentions and petitions come in veneration and prayer, because we are assured that our beloved John Paul II is now in the home of the Father, interceding always on our behalf,” he added.

Those who will attend Saturday’s activity will receive a prayer card with a third class relic of the saint, which is a piece of cloth wiped on the blood relic.

 
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