Over 2,000 faithfuls welcome blood relic of St. John Paul II

MANILA � Over 2,000 faithfuls attended the Mass to welcome the blood relic of St. Pope John II, which will be open for veneration for two days starting Saturday at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.

Eighty five year-old Maria Adia Alonzo was one of the thousands who attended the Mass and venerated the blood relic of St. John Paul II.

She had seen the saint pope twice, the first was when he beatified the county's first saint, Lorenzo Ruiz in 1981; and during the World Youth Day celebration in 1995.

I'm already old and I came here to pray for a happy and peaceful death. I also prayed for my four children, she said.

Fr. Reginald Malicdem, rector of the Cathedral presided the Eucharistic Celebration while Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle delivered the homily.

With this, the cardinal reminded the people how Pope John Paul II opened his heart to the Filipinos when he visited the country.

Pope John Paul II came to us, he opened his heart, the Philippine is welcome in his heart, now we welcome him again, the relic of his blood. Blood, life. The life of mission continues, but it is life in Christ, life in the risen Lord So that the new life would truly happen, he said in his homily.

With St. John Paul II let us be witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth, Tagle added.

The Mass ended with the song Tell the world of His love, which was originally sang during the World Youth Day in Manila 23 years ago.

After the liturgical service, devotees started queueing to venerate the relic, one of the seven vials of St. John Paul II's blood donated to the Archdiocese of Manila in December last year by Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz, the archbishop emeritus of Krakow and St. John Paul II's former secretary.

The relic was placed at the center of the cathedral.

More people are expected to be at the public veneration on Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

John Paul II was born in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920 and died in 2005 in Vatican City. He was 84.

He was the head of the Roman Catholic Church for 27 years, the second longest serving pontiff after Pope Piux IX who served the Vatican for 31 years.

The Holy Father was canonized as a saint on April 27, 2014. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency