A great coup for the National Shrine of St Paul, in St. Paul, Minnesota! WDTPRS kudos!

UPDATE: The coup is bigger than I originally thought.

People can now gain the same indulgences by visiting the National Shrine as they can by visiting  the Roman Basilica St. Paul’s outside-the-walls.


This is truly a “Brick by Brick” story!

I read a story in the newspaper of my native place about a real triumph for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and especially for its Cathedral of St. Paul which is the National Shrine of St. Paul in the United States.  Moreover, this a a true feather in the cap, one by now a large bonnet of feathers, gained by its outgoing rector, my friend Fr. Joseph Johnson.

The Cathedral Shrine has scored a stone from the sarcophagus of the Apostle Paul, under the Roman Basilica of St Paul outside-the-walls.

The sarcophagus was in the last few years excavated, studied, authenticated.

From the STrib:

A piece of the Italian sarcophagus of early Christian apostle St. Paul will be displayed May 20 at the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Thursday.

The relic, brought from Rome in March by cathedral rector the Rev. Joseph Johnson, will serve as an object of veneration for devout Roman Catholics. It consists of a stone removed from the tomb, which lies beneath the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome, Johnson said.

In June 2009, Vatican archaeologists drilled a hole into the sarcophagus and inserted a probe to remove a sample of its contents, Cathedral of St. Paul spokeswoman Carolyn Will said in a news release. The contents included purple fabric, red incense, chalk and protein substances. Bone fragments were sent for carbon-14 testing, which concluded that they came from someone who lived around the first and second centuries A.D.

“This would seem to confirm the unanimous and undisputed tradition which claims that these are the mortal remains of St. Paul,” Pope Benedict said at the time. “All of this fills our hearts with profound emotion.”

The sarcophagus stone will be on view from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 20, at the cathedral, 729 Selby Av. Ritual veneration will occur outside that day’s mass times at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. Until a more permanent location for the relic is secured, it will be the only public viewing, cathedral officials said.

The cathedral, which in 2009 was designated as the U.S. national shrine of St. Paul, [Another one of the capable Fr. Johnson’s accomplishments.] now becomes an even more significant pilgrimage site, Johnson said.

“Every religious tradition has a notion of pilgrimage, and for Catholics, the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul are major sites,” he said. “Most people never make it to Italy, so this further enhances our designation as a national shrine. … Seeing this gives people a sense of closeness to the apostle Paul, who was the first to spread the Christian message.

WDTPRS kudos and congratulations to Fr. Johnson!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    A long time ago, I lived in St. Paul and went to the Cathedral, and was actually in a wedding which took place there. I am so glad this relic is there. I think relics and such pilgrimages which result help the faithful, and even inspire some who have never thought about St. Paul to do so. Good one for those involved.

  2. wjphelps says:

    I have read an article (see: http://anthropologist.livejournal.com/1314574.html) that claims the Church is ancient times had rites for the blessing of homosexual unions. I do not believe it but wonder if you, a classicist, would give your views on the reported rites.

  3. Bea says:

    Do they get to keep it permanently or is it only on loan from the vatican?

  4. Nicole says:

    That is truly a great honor for the National Shrine of St. Paul! I only wish that I could go venerate the relic…

  5. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    wjphelps: I noticed (though I have not yet viewed) this, addressing the article you note – it sounds worth viewing!:

  6. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you for this! I missed the news of the 2009 investigation!

Comments are closed.