LA CROSSE, Wis. (Press Release) The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe has over 100 relics of Catholic Saints for public veneration from Thursday, October 31, through Sunday, November 3, 2019. The practice of venerating relics goes as far back as the Old Testament where we read in the 2nd Book of Kings that a man was brought back to life after coming into contact with the bones of the prophet Elisha. Relics are divided into three classes: a first-class relic is a part of the physical remains of a saint (i.e., bone, blood, hair, etc.), a second-class relic is an item that the saint used (clothing, a Rosary, etc.), and a third-class relic is any item that touches a first or second-class relic.
The veneration of relics is oft-misunderstood practice within Catholicism. The Church encourages the faithful and others to remember that it is not the actual object that imparts healing or answers a prayer request, as the relic is simply an instrument through which God can display His miraculous nature. God can use a relic of a saint to heal, just like he used His cloak to heal the woman with the hemorrhage. The Shrine is making these relics available for veneration at this time because it is the season of All Hallowtide—not widely celebrated on its own in modern times—which is the triduum (three days) including All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), All Hallows’ Day (All Saint’ Day), and All Souls’ Day. The relics are available for veneration at the Shrine until Sunday, from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm.