Relic of St. Mary Magdalene to tour diocese March 13-17

Photo Caption: A reliquary carrying a portion of the tibia (leg bone) of St. Mary Magdalene will be present for public veneration at stops in Peoria, LaSalle, and rural Princeville during its Illinois tour.

By: By Tom Dermody/The Catholic Post

A relic of St. Mary Magdalene now touring through Illinois will make several stops in the Diocese of Peoria in mid-March, including a weekend of prayer and discussion with the Community of St. John in Princeville March 16-17 and with veneration before and after the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on Saturday, March 16.

The relic, a tibia (leg bone) fragment, will be accompanied by Father Thomas Michelet, OP, and Deacon James Devine, a Missionary of the Most Holy Eucharist from the Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene in St. Maximin, France. The Illinois tour is coordinated by Paula Lawlor, a California woman who is author of “A Love Devout: the True Untold Story of Mary Magdalene.”

“The purpose of the tour is to share the holiness of the relic and tell the story of the saint who is recorded as the first witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” said Lawlor. “St. Mary Magdalene was told to go and tell the others.”

At several of the stops in the Diocese of Peoria, Deacon Devine will give a talk on “St. Mary Magdalene and the Most Holy Eucharist.” Candlelight processions, Masses, opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation, and other devotions are also planned in addition to public veneration of the relic.

Following are scheduled locations and activities in this diocese:

Wednesday, March 13: St. Mark’s Church, Peoria.
8 a.m., all-school Mass with procession of the relic, followed by Litany of St. Mary Magdalene; church open for veneration throughout the day; noon, Angelus; 2 p.m., Stations of the Cross with school children leading; 5:15 p.m., Mass, followed by Chaplet of St. Mary Magdalene; 6:30 p.m., talk by Deacon Devine in the church; 8 p.m., holy hour with music and confessions; 9 p.m., Mass; 10 p.m., relic departs.

Thursday, March 14: St. Hyacinth’s Church, LaSalle.
A candlelight procession with students from Trinity Catholic Academy will accompany the relic into the church at 9:15 a.m. A Mass with the students will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Confessions will be available in English and Spanish from 11 a.m. to noon, when another Mass in English will be celebrated. Confessions continue at 2 p.m., with a Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. followed by the chaplet and litany to St. Mary Magdalene. Deacon Devine will speak at 5 p.m. A Spanish chaplet and litany will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Spanish Mass at 7 p.m.

Friday, March 15: St. Philomena’s Church, Peoria.
Mass at 7 a.m., preceded by a candlelight procession. Mass at 8 a.m., and a school Mass at 9 a.m. with preaching by Deacon Devine. The spiritual talk by Deacon Devine follows at 10, with confessions at 11 a.m. The chaplet and litany to St. Mary Magdalene begins at 1 p.m. with upper grades of school children participating. The sacrament of reconciliation will again be offered at 5 p.m., followed by Mass at 5:30 p.m. Living Stations with the children begin at 6 p.m., and the relic departs at 7 p.m.

A variety of opportunities are planned when the relic is welcomed to the Community of St. John, 11227 W. Legion Hall Road in Princeville. All-night adoration with the relic is planned Friday, March 15, in the Brothers’ Chapel. The remaining weekend schedule is as follows:

Saturday, March 16: 6:15 a.m. silent prayer (Brothers’ Chapel); 7 a.m., Lauds; 8 a.m., Stations of the Cross led by Father Thomas Michelet, OP; 9 a.m. talk by Deacon James Devine; 10 a.m., procession to the Apostolic Sisters praying the Chaplet to St. Mary Magdalene; 10:30 a.m., confessions; 11 a.m., procession to the Contemplative Sisters praying the Litany to St. Mary Magdalene; 11:45 a.m., Mass (Contemplative Sisters); 2 p.m., relic departs for 4 p.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Peoria; 9 p.m., vigils for Sunday at the Sisters’ Chapel with the relics. The Sisters’ Chapel will remain open all night for veneration of the relic.

Sunday, March 17: 6 a.m., silent prayer (Sisters’ Chapel); 7 a.m., Lauds, followed by procession to the Brothers’ Chapel, praying the Litany to St. Mary Magdalene; 9 a.m., spiritual talk by Deacon Devine; 11:15 a.m., Mass followed by the Chaplet to St. Mary Magdalene, 2 p.m., relic departs.
For more information on the events at the Community of St. John, call (309) 385-2550.

St. Mary Magdalene is honored as a devout follower of Jesus and a penitent. Tradition has it that some years after the Crucifixion, she was imprisoned. Upon her release, she and other followers of Jesus were cast out to sea on the shores of Palestine without sails, oars or supplies. The boat miraculously came to shore on the coast of Gaul (France) in a town near Marseille.

After preaching with her companions and converting many, Mary Magdalene retired to a mountain cave known as La Sainte-Baume, which means holy cave, and spent the last 30 years of her life in solitude.

A letter of authenticity from French Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon reports that relics of the saint were hidden at the time of the Saracen invasions. In 1279, they were rediscovered in a chapel crypt in the town of St. Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.

“The presence of St. Mary Magdalene’s relic reminds us she was real, made of flesh and bones, just like us,” she said. “Through this tour, St. Mary Magdalene will be able to preach more, even though it’s some two thousand years later.”

For more information, including a complete itinerary of the Illinois tour, visit

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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