A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Fr. Carlos Martins, CC, one of only three people in North America who is authorized to authenticate relics of the saints.
Shortly after “A Martyr’s Crown” was published, I went to visit an elderly neighbor I’ve known for 20 years. She’s in the process of going through her belongings so as to spare her children the task after she dies.
“Could you use any rosaries?” she asked me.
I love the rosary and have a nice assortment at home, but then again, there are all those families at the Chaldean Church. Maybe they could use a rosary, I thought.
As she and I sat there unzipping all the various pouches and examining the rosaries, we discovered something wonderful. One of the cases contained what looked to be a first-class relic of St. Lucy, a fourth century martyr for the faith. My neighbor had completely forgotten that she had the relic.
At the end of my interview with Fr. Martins, I handed him the reliquary to examine. He managed to pry off the back of the reliquary and found the distinctive, red, hand-carved, wax seal of postulator Fr. Nicholas Ferrante.
“You’ve got a genuine first-class relic of St. Lucy,” Fr. Martins told me. “There’s no mistaking this seal and the threads are unbroken.”
Fr. Martins is going to add his seal to the back of the reliquary and provide me with a certificate of authenticity. This is no small matter, as Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted told me.
The Church forbids public veneration of relics unless they have been authenticated.
I plan to bring the relic of St. Lucy to my speaking engagements so that my audience can venerate it and ask her to intercede for them.
Amazingly, St. Lucy is not only the patron of those with eye diseases, she’s also the patron saint of authors. How’s that for a “God-incidence”?