There's something about Mary Magdalene: hundreds turn out to venerate relic

Some bone, reportedly from one of the church’s oldest saints, is drawing the faithful and the curious.

From a local paper in San Bernardino, California:

Sixteen hundred years ago, if someone wanted to describe a relic of Mary Magdalene and the cave in southern France in which it rests, they would have needed a little vellum and a lot of patience.

On Sunday, all it took was the click of a camera phone.

Hundreds of faithful Catholics and even a few from other faiths brought plenty of those to St. Catherine of Siena in Rialto to capture the image of a 6-inch piece of bone believed to have been from Mary Magdalene, among the holiest saints of the church.

So goes veneration of saints in the 21st century.

“It got here at 6:30 this morning,” the Rev. Stephen Porter, pastor of St. Catherine, said quietly, as if about to impart a secret. “The first thing I did was knelt in front of it and prayed. Then I took a photo of it. My Facebook page was updated with the photo by 7:30.”

The relic’s visit brought a virtual social network of Catholics and the curious to St. Catherine, its 25th stop on a one-month tour of the state that started Feb. 14. It’s the first time the relic, a fragment of bone from Mary Magdelene’s tibia, has come to California. It toured the eastern and southern U.S. in 2009.

Check out the rest, including a great gallery of pictures.

Comments

  1. I think I had the privilege of seeing that relic, in its earlier trip to the U.S. But now I raise a question:

    Several years ago, I toured an exhibit of relics which were on loan to a NY museum (I believe it was the Metropolitan Museum of Art). The exhibit was on loan while the basilica in Assisi, which had been severely damaged by an earthquake, was being restored.

    My concern, then and now, was that the relics were not accorded the respect they deserved. Surely, some visitors were respectful, prayerful; many of the people I saw, though, were not. There were teens playing hide-’n-seek between the display cases, scornful atheists, and art aficionados there just to admire the gold and glass display cases.

    I’m sure it would no longer be “politically correct” to exhibit the bones of native Americans, and probably not Egyptian mummies, because of our increased sensitivity regarding the sacredness of a culture’s ancestors.

    Why, then, did the Church not protect the precious relics, at least ensuring that the exhibition occurred not in a public space like a museum, but in a church building? Was the New York exhibit a violation of policy, or simply an oversight?

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