Relics said to be from the time of Jesus’ birth are on display at a Roman Catholic church in Chicago.
The relics include fragments said to be from the manger at Jesus birth, his mother’s veil, and a thread from St. Joseph’s cloak.
The relics were fragments released by the Vatican in 1972, reports The Chicago Tribune. They were given to the Holy Family Church from the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii.
Displaying them now has significance. Not only is it in celebration of the church’s 155th anniversary, but it is also close to Christmas, which is when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.
The church’s administrator, Reverand Jeremiah J. Boland, is “not that interested” in performing carbon dating to see if the relics on display are actually from Jesus’ time. Boland explained:
“The Vatican has its own process to determine the authenticity of things. I’m more concerned with it as an object of faith.”
Boland added that the relic from the manger has even “more authenticity,” because it was brought to the Vatican from the Holy Land in the 5th century. The Huffington Post notes that he added:
“One could argue how real the relics of Mary or Joseph are, but there were all sorts of objects over the centuries that have been venerated and are based on faith rather than scientific explanation.”
The fragments will be placed on display in a crystal reliquary, which is the normal vessel used to preserve relics of saints. A mass will be held on Sunday to celebrate the transfer of the relics from The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii to Holy Family Church on Sunday. The relics will then be placed on display in the afternoon.
Would you be interested in seeing relics on display from the time of Jesus’ birth? Do you believe they could be real, or would carbon dating show that they are from a different time period?