State Council News

St. Jude Catholic Church obtains First Class Relic

Posted Dec 23, 2014
by Mark

By Robyn Wheeler
GUN BARREL CITY-St. Jude Catholic Church in Gun Barrel City recently obtained a First Class Relic of St. Jude. Most Catholic churches have a Relic sealed in the main altar, however St. Jude has not been one of them, until recently. Pastor Father Dan Daugherty had been searching for such a Relic for a few years but felt it was unlikely one would be found or if found, the church would not have the necessary funds to purchase it.

After much dedication and searching on behalf of parishioners Pat Harwerth and Maria McNeill, a First Class Relic of St. Jude was spotted for sale on an Internet auction site due to the closure of a Catholic church in Europe. Relics of any Class can be quite expensive, and McNeill and Harwerth knew the church would not be able to afford it. After making discreet inquiries, it was determined the Knights of Columbus (KOC) Council 8806 would secretly raise the funds for its purchase.

After the bidding process, which took several weeks, but the church was successful in procuring the relic. Knights of Columbus members made a presentation of the relic to Father Dan at his 65th birthday celebration held at Tavi’s Italian Restaurant in Seven Points in March.

The Relic of any Saint must be authenticated by Vatican officials and have the proper seal and documentation. Class One Relics are usually some part of the physical remains of a saint usually in the form of bone, flesh or hair. A Second Class Relic is an item or piece of an item used by the Saint while on the body such as clothing, vestments or Bible. Third and Fourth Class Relics are usually a piece of cloth touched to the First or Second Class Relic of the Saint.

First and Second Class Relics are rare and considered precious. They are usually entrusted to Faith Communities and not individuals. A relic must also be blessed by a Deacon or Priest of the Roman Catholic Church in order for it to become Sacramental.

Diocese of Tyler Most Reverend Bishop Joseph E. Strickland was set to install the Relic Oct. 28 at the evening Mass but was unexpectedly unable to attend and gave Daugherty authority to perform the rite of dedication. More than 120 parishioners attended the installation as the Relic on St. Jude’s Feast Day. It was sealed in a two inch enclave in the church’s marble Altar.

According to tradition, a Relic, when properly reverenced, can be powerful sacramental and is not to be taken lightly. As sacramental, relics are thought to be of assistance in leading people to receive or respond to grace. In this way, they are thought to provide much protection from harm.

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