Sunday, June 20, 2010

Release: Relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux arrive in Johannesburg on Friday 25 June



Related: Bones/Relics of a Saint go on Display: St Therese Carmel Benoni

Facebook event with Itinerary for almost if not the whole trip

St Therese in South Africa: Official Website


(Southern African Catholic Dispatches)

Article by Marc Aupiais


The editor of Archdiocesan News, Archdiocese Johannesburg, whom we often enjoy co-operation with has permitted us to publish this press release, I thank her very much for that permission and for forwarding this and other noteworthy material, it is published in full excluding for media only information:

"Relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux arrive in Johannesburg on Friday 25 June



"On Friday 25 June at 14:00 Catholic priests, Father Fr Vusi Sokhela and Father Shaun Mary Von Lillienfeld, the Carmelite Sisters and the Catholic Order of the Knights of da Gama will ceremonially receive the traveling relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux at the Carmelite Convent in Benoni. (46 Dickenson Rd, Benoni North).

"The reliquary, an ornate casket, containing some of the mortal remains of the saint will be borne in solemn procession, with rose petals strewn before it, into the Convent Chapel where they will lie for veneration until 28 June when they are taken to Geluksdal Catholic Church, the next stop in a three month tour across the length and breadth of South Africa.

"Catholics believe in the Church ‘on earth and in heaven’ and venerate saints, their ancestral family in faith, who while on earth led exemplary lives and who, in heaven are in a position to intercede for the living.



"The relics drew extraordinary crowds in England and Wales when 250,000 people venerated them during a tour in 2009 and organizers are hoping for the same response in South Africa.



"Fr Shaun hopes that the visit of the relics will lead to ‘devotion to the saints taking its rightful place in the Liturgical Calendar’. He hopes too that the secular media will give the tour some coverage so that all Catholics, especially lapsed Catholics, may have the opportunity to share a spiritually joyful event.



"Fr Vusi, who initiated the visit after a chance visit to his parish of a French follower of St Therese’s Little Way, hopes that Saint Therese who died aged only 24 years will be a role-model for the youth especially since we ‘have no (South African) saints of our own. Maybe one day as a result of this visit the relics of a South African saint will tour France.’



"Devotion to Saint Thérèse, also known as St Thérèse of the Face of Child Jesus and St Thérèse of the Little Flower, is marvelous considering that she died at the end of the 19th century having been an enclosed nun for all her short adult life. She was a Carmelite nun, a member of the same Carmelite order as the sisters of the Carmelite convent in Benoni where the relics will be received.



"St Therese’s relics are being hosted in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg (roughly southern Gauteng) by Fr Vusi Sokhela, Parish Priest of St Francis of Assisi, Yeoville and Vicar of Youth and Fr Shaun Mary Von Lillienfeld, Administrator of the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King, Saratoga Avenue, Doornfontein near Ellis Park. The visit has been sanctioned by the Archbishop of Johannesburg, Buti Tlhagale, and also by the bishops of those dioceses to which the relics will tour – Tzaneen, Aliwal North, Queenstown, Kokstad, Umzumkulu, Mariannhill, Durban and Cape Town.



"During the 12 week tour more than 24 churches, monasteries and institutions will host the relics including Mother Teresa’s Home, a hospice in Yeoville (23 Aug); Regina Mundi in Soweto where school children will be bussed for a veneration ceremony (26 Aug) and the Johannesburg Catholic Cathedral, Doornfontein where there will be a night vigil on 10 July, the eve of the final World Cup match.



"There was a lot of cynicism before the relics visited England and Wales in 2009. Yet a quarter of a million people venerated the relics at 28 venues; 35,000 at Westminster Cathedral alone. The Bishops of Scotland regretted not hosting the relics as Scottish Catholics protested at being left out. A tour of Ireland in 2001 sparked the biggest mass movement of people ever witnessed in the country with an estimated 75% of the population making pilgrimages to visit the relics. A later visit drew 2 million people."



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