Thousands venerate St. John Paul II relic and honor Mary during diocesan tour

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, venerates the relic of St. John Paul II -- a vial of the late pope's blood -- at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria on Aug. 19. The relic drew thousands of faithful during a tour throughout the Diocese of Peoria Aug. 16 to 19. (For The Catholic Post/Julie Enzenberger)

Sandwiched between hours of quiet veneration and prayer on Aug. 19 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria were thunderous rounds of applause for St. John Paul II and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The ovations came during a talk by Mother Adela Galindo, foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who accompanied the pilgrim relic of St. John Paul II on an eight-stop tour of the Diocese of Peoria from Aug. 16-19. The tour, which drew thousands of faithful from throughout central Illinois and beyond, culminated with three hours of veneration, Mother Adela’s talk, and a Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, last Saturday at a packed St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Mother Adela Galindo, foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, drew applause when she told those who packed St. Mary’s Cathedral that St. John Paul II was “one of the greatest gifts the Holy Spirit has given to the church in the last century.”

“We have the blessing today of being in a cathedral dedicated to Our Lady on the centenary of Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima with the liquefied blood of St. John Paul present.

“A miracle!,” she continued. “Twelve years liquid. The blood of one of the greatest gifts of the Holy Spirit has given to the church in the last century — John Paul II,” said Mother Adela, drawing the first round of applause of the evening.

The small vial of the late pope’s blood is encased in a reliquary shaped liked the Book of the Gospels. At the cathedral as in earlier stops at churches and chapels in Kickapoo, Silvis, Manito, Champaign, Normal, Bloomington and the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria, the lines were long as pilgrims awaited their moment with the relic. All received a holy card of St. John Paul II. Many brought rosaries or other devotionals to touch to the relic.

Related stories: Hundreds venerate relic at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Silvis

Two stops, a rosary walk and a Mass in Bloomington-Normal

“WE CAN CONQUER EVIL”

Calling St. John Paul II “the great Marian pope” because of his devotion to the Blessed Mother, Mother Adela wove stories of the late pope’s life and teachings with the messages of Our Lady of Fatima, whose appearances in Portugal took place 100 years ago.

“If you don’t remember all that I told you just remember one phrase,” said Mother Adela. “We can conquer evil. Not only we can, but we have the obligation to conquer evil.”

An image of St. John Paul II is placed with his relic at the first stop in its tour of the Diocese of Peoria, St. Mary Church in Kickapoo. (Provided photo)

Repeatedly echoing a central message of St. John Paul II’s pontificate, “Be not afraid,” Mother Adela challenged today’s Catholics to “step forward to the challenges of our time.” St. John Paul II and other great modern saints like St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata and St. Maximilian Kolbe are wonderful models, but they “have already taken their place in history,” she said.

Today’s Catholics must pick up the challenge to “conquer evil by doing good,” including by following the requests of Mary at Fatima such as to pray the rosary daily, do reparation for sins including those against the Eucharist, and to consecrate “ourselves, our families, our parishes, and our dioceses to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

“For God there is no time, there is no space,” she told the assembly. “The sacrifices you do today, you don’t know where they are going, who they are saving, who they are converting. Don’t be afraid to offer your life for the conversion of people because nothing you offer will be wasted.”

SPANISH-SPEAKING CATHOLICS SWELL CROWD

As Mother Adela ended her talk, the crowd was swelled by the arrival of more than 400 Spanish-speaking Catholics who had just taken part in a daylong celebration of Our Lady of Fatima at the nearby Spalding Pastoral Center. (See related story.) After walking in procession down Madison Avenue, they entered the cathedral led by four men carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The Mass included two Scripture readings in Spanish.

“This evening we celebrate what in the liturgical calendar is called the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time,” said Bishop Jenky in welcoming remarks at the start of Mass. “But this evening for us is not ordinary. We have in our presence the precious relic of St. John Paul II. We have in our midst so many consecrated women who serve God in this diocese so well. It is a joy for me when this cathedral is filled up with believers.”

The evening ended with a “Cenacle” — a period of praise, worship and adoration led by the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

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