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Pilgrimage of Mary: The Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Gorreti
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St. Maria Goretti Parish is set to host a tour of the relics of its patron saint, St. Maria Goretti, as part of the Pilgrimage of Mary: The Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Gorreti. The parish is one of more than 50 in the United States to host the major relics of its patron saint.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Friday, October 16, at 8 a.m., the relics will be brought into the church, which can be found at 5513 Flad Ave, Madison, WI. The relics will lie in repose for public veneration starting 9 a.m. on Friday until 5:30 am on Saturday, October 17.
October 16 is St. Maria Goretti's 125th birthday and hundreds of pilgrims are expected to walk past the reliquary during the 22-hour period.
This is the second time she has left Italy and the first time her body will travel to the US.
St. Maria's body is not incorrupt and none of the sacred remains are visible. Nevertheless, her skeleton is complete, save for small amounts of bone that have been placed in reliquaries and her right arm, which was donated by her mother to the former Church of St. Nicolas, now known as the Sanctuary of St. Maria Goretti.
St. Maria Goretti is a hugely popular saint and is the youngest canonized saint in the Catholic Church. 11-year-old Goretti died on July 6, 1902, after being stabbed 14 times in an attempted rape. Her last words on her death bed were of mercy toward her attacker, 20-year-old Alessandro Serenelli. She said, "I forgive Alessandro Serenelli and I want him with me in heaven forever."
Roughly six years into his 30-year prison sentence after killing Goretti, the unrepentant Serenelli reported seeing an apparition of his victim within his prison cell. The vision transformed him from being a violent person into a gentle soul devoted to God. In Serenelli's words, "Maria's forgiveness saved me."
The visit of the major relics of St. Maria Goretti is an effort on the part of her Pontifical Basilica, Treasures of the Church and the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, to prepare and catechize the US for the celebration in the life of the church.
The tour includes several stops in 20 states at schools, prisons and parishes. Each exposition will include presentations on the life and virtues of St. Maria.
According to Father Martins, who has been ministering with relics for almost 20 years, God never disappoints but always "shows up" in expositions by creating miracles, including healing of the sick. Martins said, "It is a most wonderful thing to see a parish, school, or prison renewed after an exposition. That is the basis for this ministry's existence and I cannot wait to see where St. Maria will take it."
For more information on the details of the exposition, click here.
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