The hand of St James the Great made a return to Reading for St James’s Day.
The relic was once an object of pilgrimage at Reading Abbey for those who could not make the sea voyage or the long overland journey to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
St James’s church in Reading, built using some stone from the monastery and on the site of the abbey church’s north transept, celebrated St James’s Day on Sunday with the relic placed before the altar.
Present among the congregation of over 400 people were members of the Confraternity of St James who were meeting for three days at the church.
“It is wonderful to have it here,” said parish priest Fr John O’Shea, speaking about the relic during Mass. “We are based on the site of the abbey. So there is deep in our history a real tradition of faith. We are, as it were, on holy ground.”
The relic is in the care of St Peter’s church in Marlow, Maidenhead, where it is only occasionally displayed.