Written by: Denise Serafini on Tuesday, March 08, 2016
I received a note from Monsignor Kenneth Steffen regarding the presentation we did in Alton, Illinois a few weeks back. In his comments he included added reflections he had received from participants in the event. Below are some excerpts from comments submitted to him by some participants of the event that I thought should be shared.
“On Saturday morning as I entered the parking lot at SSPP for the Relics Of The Passion Tour, I could hardly wait to get into the Cathedral to be a part of such a rare and amazing exhibit for which I thought I was ready to experience. I had just gone thru the Stations Of The Cross the night before after 6 P.M. mass with the Deacons and Families and others from SSPP Parish, and as I always get closer to the crucifixion, I try to ready myself, as I can feel the emotions stirring in my mind and heart.
As I prayed, the sounds of beautiful music from a woman playing the violin, joined by the sounds of the piano and a woman singing filled the church with such angelic glory & praise. Then as I watched the Relics being carried down to the altar, by the people wearing white gloves, being ever so careful and filled with such respect and joy for the job they had been given to present to the people of our church and to all visitors, the 8 relics that are a part of this collection presented by the Apostolate For Holy Relics.
Knowing that I would never get the opportunity to go to Rome or the Holy Land to see such an unbelievable collection of our history, I gave and give praise and thanks to Monsignor Steffen, for his efforts in bringing such a glorious and a once in a life time experience, to me, a lifelong Catholic, and to our blessed church and community.
Perhaps this inspirational experience can explain the long long line leading to the confessional for all our souls to be cleansed and blessed by our very own personal inspirational blessing, that is, Monsignor Kenneth Steffen.
It filled my heart to see that so many people came to experience and share the Veneration, bringing with them their own personal items not only to be blessed but to be in the presence of and to touch the Holy Relics.
Our narrator, read before each Relic, Monsignor chanted meditations and prayed. We then sang as a choir of angels, a short song after each Relic which was held on display with the utmost respect and honor by the Knights of Columbus dressed in full uniform and swords by their side. As the meditations were coming to a close and the Veneration was nearing, my palms began to sweat as I saw Deacon Adam being handed the Relic Of The True Cross and preparing for each of us to come up, I was overwhelmed with emotion, I could not stand up , so as I slid across the pew to the end to go stand before him and lay my cross from around my neck onto the actual Relic and then to kiss the top of the cross, I began to weep, rivers of tears flowed from my eyes and as I went from relic to relic I prayed harder and deeper and trembled as I got closer and closer to the Relic Of The Nail, I felt and know, that I was in the presence of God himself, it was then that I thanked God for giving his life for us all and for giving me the gift of prayer thru song and to carry whatever burdens I may be handed in this life to always remember the Cross of which he carried for me, and I shall do the same, in order to Honor the Lord.”
“To have the opportunity to be in the true presence of relics – actual pieces of the nails that pierced Jesus’ hands and feet, a piece of the cross our Lord was crucified on, a piece of the table where Jesus celebrated with His disciples the Last Supper, a thread of the Holy Shroud – and all the other relics of the True Passion of Christ brought tears to my eyes, yet I also felt a calm come over me as I touched these relics!
Words cannot fully describe how this affected me, how it deepened my Catholic faith, and drew me even closer to God during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Being a part of this pilgrimage is something I will never forget!”