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Blood-stained cassock of Blessed John Paul II to be venerated in London

By on Thursday, 8 November 2012

A reliquary at Blessed Pope John Paul II's beatification ceremony in St Peter's Square (Photo: CNS)

A reliquary at Blessed Pope John Paul II's beatification ceremony in St Peter's Square (Photo: CNS)

A blood-stained piece of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s cassock is to be venerated in a Covent Garden church in London this evening.

The relic, which is being flown from Ireland today, will arrive at Corpus Christi church, Maiden Lane, in time for Mass at 7pm.

It is being brought by Fr John Hogan, the founder of the Fraternity of St Genesius, a group that prays for people involved in the arts.

The relic was given to Fr Hogan by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Kraków, in September.

Fr Hogan had requested a relic because Blessed John Paul II was a co-patron of his fraternity, founded in 2007.

Fr Hogan said: “[Cardinal Dziwisz] sent a beautiful letter back and said he was delighted a relic of Blessed John Paul II was going to Ireland.”

Cardinal Dziwisz had soaked the cassock in a vial of Blessed John Paul II’s blood, he said.

The cardinal, the late pope’s personal secretary, had been given two out of four vials of blood drawn from the pope by his personal doctor in the final stage of his illness. The vials had originally been sent to Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome in case the pope needed a transfusion, but he never did.

The Fraternity of St Genesius, which has 1,300 members around the world, was founded to evangelise the arts and pray for people involved in cinema and the theatre.

Fr Hogan, who trained as an opera singer, came up with the idea for the association while praying at the tomb of St Genesius, the patron saint of actors, in Rome.

St Genesius was an actor who had a conversion experience while performing in a play mocking Christianity. He was tortured and then beheaded in AD 303.

The fraternity has a prayer group that meets monthly at Corpus Christi church in London. Fr Hogan described it as a “cenacle of prayer in the heart of a theatre city”.

  • Matthew Tomko

    Happy Day Gospel Choir from St John the Evangelist church in Islington, London are delighted to be singing at this mass tonight! 

  • Sweetjae

    Pray for us and specially the SSPX, Blessed Pope JPII.

  • Caroline

    To find out more about The Fraternity of St Genesius go to

    Fr John Hogan’s blog can be found at

  • Inquisator

    Blood-stained cassock of Blessed Pope John Paul being venerated….. Oh for the love of God!

  • Kevin

    I am not familiar with the practice of obtaining relics, but this one strikes me as oddly contrived.

  • Sweetjae

    Its written in the Holy Scripture exemplified by Apostle Paul.

  • Sfdsf

    I really enjoyed the mass. The priest’s homily was great and the choir was fantastic.

  • daclamat

     Disgusting. Who are the gouls that do these things?

  • BenedictK

    Please can someone explain to me how having a relic of a saint in your presence is of any benefit. I pray to God. I ask saints to intercede from me. God is everywhere. Why does having the relic of a saint make any difference? Is associating benefit to the relic of a saint not in effect idolatry?

  • Tim

    Well, yes – exactly that.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Relics are emphatically NOT FOR WORSHIP. There’s reverence, there’s veneration, but NOT WORSHIP.

    Let me ask you this:

    Say, for instance, someone very dear to you passes away.

    Can you say – with all honesty – that when you look at objects such as a piece of jewellery, photographs, a favourite piece of clothing, hear a song, watch a film or TV programme or look at a piece of furniture which was used by the dear departed and NOT remember or feel a thing, like bringing you somehow close to that person?

    I recently paid a visit to the Manchester Museum. I saw the original tile which was an anagram of Pater Noster – the Our Father. It was discovered near Manchester City Centre and is evidence of early Christians. This anagram was part of the design of the furniture for the open air altar at Heaton Park, where Blessed/Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in 1982 and ordained priests.

    Memories came flooding back of that wonderful day. 

    If you followed the 2012 Olympics, and someone like Katie Taylor, Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins or Mo Farrah were coming to a public place and brought along their medals, wouldn’t you like to take a look at their medals?

    I did not worship the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux or the Cure of Ars incorrrupt heart. They, like the memories and souvenirs, brought me close to those saints as humans who became examples of goodness and the Love of God… and brought us to that love.

    God Alone, through His Son, Jesus Christ, require our worship.

  • Jon Brownridge

    Beware of relics. I just read about a group of nuns in the Philippeans who venerate a large, colourful feather which they keep in a sealed glass case. It is they believe, a feather shed from the wing of the Angel Gabriel at the time of the Annunciation. You need great faith to believe that!

  • Gerry

    There’s nothing to beat a bit of medieval hocus pocus!

  • James

    Do you really think people will believe that Mr Brownridge?  Do you really think there is a group of nuns who have that feather?  It is one thing objecting the ancient Christian practice of venerating relics, but it is quite another peddling lies.

  • Kevin

    That is an interesting statement of fact, but chapter and verse would help. It is a big book.

  • Petertheroman

    Lol did you know the Gold for their medals was sourced in mongolia open mines! Ring any warning bells. I think you all should seek and you will find things are not as glint as gold

  • daclamat

    Might one of the nuns who looked after him have kept one of his toe-nail clippings, or even a  soup-stained napkin ? This disgusting practice should be contemptuously ignored.

  • Jon Brownridge

     Admittedly, the story does sound a bit over the top, but I am no longer surprised at what some people are capable of believing in the name of Faith. Closer to home, our Parish group, on a trip to the Holy Land, were shown the actual rock from which the Blessed Virgin assumed into Heaven. This led to many members of the group rubbing their rosaries against the rock while the guide smirked in the background. What foolishness.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    I take it you are talking about the London 2012 Gold medals?

    For your information, those gold medals are not made of solid gold but are heavily plated and have a core of pure silver.
    By the way, you’ve deliberately distracted people with your pointless discourse.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    I think you should be contemptuously ignored.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Now you’re being silly!

  • Rizzo The Bear

    I wouldn’t smirk or laugh at self-respecting Manchester City fans who might wish to rub their scarves and footy shirts upon the Premiership Trophy at Eastlands – their first piece of prestigious soccer silverware for over 40 years?

    People visit Graceland, where Elvis Presley lived until he died on the toilet. Nobody thinks they are nuts or foolish or one sandwich short of a picnic, do they?

    Do you smirk at war veterans who go back to where they saw their friends and comrades shot to pieces and buried far from home? 

    Would you dare say: ‘Oh, look at them old fogeys! LOL! Why can’t they just get a life and move on! That stuff happened seventy-odd years ago and they still whinge like babies? What are a few villages that have been torched or people dragged into the street and shot?!’

    No, you wouldn’t, would you?

    Why the ignorant, ill-mannered smirk or the snotty-nosed invalidation on your part of people who wanted to touch their rosaries upon the places where Christ ascended to heaven or where Our Blessed Lady was assumed body and soul to heaven – something which will happen to us on the Last Day if we are judged worthy of that place in heaven on the Last Day by Almighty God?

    The Ascention, The Assumption and The Annunciation make up three of the twenty mysteries of the Holy Rosary… or has that escaped you or your so-called guide’s crap-for-brains?

    Seeking the facts and the tangible realities of things that happened so long ago and to touch the places with your own hands is steeped and seared into humanity.

    Underneath a Leicestershire car park, archaeologists may have stumbled across the burial place and remains of King Richard III. What must the archaeologists feel about their discovery, especially if it DOES turn out to be the much-unfairly-maligned last Plantagenet king? If I were them, I’d be pretty honoured, privileged (and emotional) about the discovery. 

    I, for one, would love to attend a Roman Catholic Latin High Mass fit for a King and his subsequent re burial.

    When archaeologists found the remains of the Russian Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg, their burial was one of the most moving and touching  event I have ever come across (it was featured on YouTube). The house where they were murdered was demolished and a beautiful Orthodox church was built on the spot in their memory. The place where they died needlessly and mercilessly at the hands of the Soviets. What is there to bet that many have attended an Orthodox service there, then standing to reflect on the spot where it happened.

    The Soviets were determined to erase all trace of their remains because they wanted to bury their crimes and bury history.

    It meant a lot to the Russians that their Imperial Royal Family were found and given these honours – in spite of the Soviet’s attempts to demonise them and live in the illusion that the Tzars were worse monsters than they were?

    Lose or mock these tangible things – including authenticated holy relics – and we learn nothing about the goodness of Almighty God nor of the height and depth of human life and humanity as a whole.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Apologies for the rubbish spelling – I can’t go back to correct these things once they are posted.

  • Jon Brownridge

     Are you assuming, then, that Mary really did assume from the rock in question? My whole point is that these guides cash in on the gullibility of pilgrims.

  • Paul_David

    Acts 19:12?

  • Paul_David

    No it is not idolatory my friend – in fact in Acts 19 we see people do exactly this…

  • Randall E. Winn

    The problem with Acts 19:12 is that, assuming it to be literally true,  none of today’s relics have such magic power. 
    There are no scientific studies demonstrating that holy relics can work cures with anything close to the reliability attested to in Acts. There may be occasional claims of miracles, but nothing that is statistically significant; sometimes people just get better *with* or *without* holy relics and no-one knows why.
    Perhaps the simplest explanation is that we have no holy relics of saints; JP2′s relics fail the simplest test of healing, and therefore, while he may have been a good Pope, he’s not a saint.

  • Basil Loftus

    We should all venerate the greatest Pope since St Peter.

  • Basil Loftus

    Santo Sabito

    The greatest Pope since St Peter!

  • Deodatus

    Surely one venerates Blessed Pope John Paul as reflecting Christ in his life and ministry: venerates Christ in thanksgiving for John Paul.  To ‘venerate’ a blood-stained cassock as the headline suggests is mistaken piety: but if the presence of the relic draws one to the Christ whom the Blessed John Paul served, then God be praised.   

  • AnthonyPatrick

     Well said, Rizzo.

  • AnthonyPatrick

     Nice one.

  • Kevin

    Thanks. I am obliged, but this verse does not refer to soaking in blood. Here is the translation from newadvent (verses 11 and 12):

    “11. And God wrought by the hand of Paul more than common miracles. 12 So that even there were brought from his body to the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons: and the diseases departed from them: and the wicked spirits went out of them.”

  • Paul_David

    Why does it have to refer to blood soaked items? It shows that relics were used and venerated by the very earliest Christians.

  • It says there look

    That’s nothing, I’ve got one of Mother Theresa’s tampons.

  • Alan

    I think it’s wonderful that these mediaeval traditions are being kept alive – who says the Catholic Church is ‘out of touch’?

  • Claptrap

    On the whole, what a lot of ill-informed rubbish – the comments below that is. Not least the strange interpretations of Acts 19 – any door-knocking evangelist would be proud. And yes: what a contrived relic! A relic is a dangerous thing and at least should be “spontaneous” – as in Acts 19.

  • Garrett, San Francisco

    Venerating a stained piece of cloth is the kind of practice that mystifies Church critics. Even as a catholic I think it’s time the Church distance itself from these rather questionable hold overs from centuries ago when these were more acceptable forms worship. The Church should be more concerned about the world wide stain on its moral authority and credibility and focus all its efforts on making the Church more contemporary and getting its own house in order.

  • Paul_David

    Hi Garrett. First of all I really don´t see what this has to do with removing the “world wide stain” that the Church left – the Church (especially PBXVI) has done many things for this and so clearly the Church is very concerned about this issue.

    Regarding the blood stained cassock I think your reasoning is flawed. First of all venerating and treasuring relics is a practice that goes back to the very beginnings of the Church and is even spoken about in Acts of the Apostles. Secondly just because it mystifies critics doesn´t mean we should stop doing it. I can think of many things that mystify critics (even in the 1st century!) and these include transubstantiation, confessing sins to a priest, wearing a cross, mortification, fasting etc. personally I´m glad that the Church doesn´t stop practicing things because of a cultural shift that has only been around for the second half of this century.