St. Theresa was honored to be one of the sites for the Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Goretti this Fall. The youngest canonized saint in the Church, St. Maria died tragically at the age of 11 by the hand of Alessandro Serenelli. Alessandro brutally attacked her with a knife after she refused his advances. On her deathbed, she said, “I forgive Alessandro Serenelli … and I want him with me in heaven forever.” Our parish welcomed over 10,000 pilgrims to venerate St. Maria’s relics and learn more about her life.
“I am especially holding up this saint as an example to young people who are the hope of the Church and of humanity.”
– Pope John Paul 11, Message to the Bishop of Albano for the Centenary of the Death of St. Maria Goretti
The tour was in conjunction with the Holy Year of Mercy. This tour presented an opportunity to learn from the example set for us by St. Maria Goretti, to obtain grace by venerating her relics, and to spread the story of this virtuous and merciful saint.
While St. Maria is universally known as the Patroness of Purity, her greatest virtue was her unyielding forgiveness of her attacker even in the midst of horrendous physical suffering, a forgiveness that would completely convert him and set him on a path to personal holiness. In March His Holiness, Pope Francis, announced an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy beginning December 8th. This visit of the major relics of St. Maria Goretti is an effort on the part of her Basilica Shrine, the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, and Treasures of the Church, to prepare and catechize the United States for this great celebration in the life of the Church.
…relics are not magic. They do not contain a power that is their own; a power separate from God. Any good that comes about through a relic is God’s doing. But the fact that God chooses to use the relics of saints to work healing and miracles tells us that He wants to draw our attention to the saints as “models and intercessors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 828). It also reveals His intention to use relics to foreshadow the general resurrection of mankind: that one day God’s faithful children, the members of His Body, will reign with him in glory, and through whom, even now on earth, He works mightily…
Thank you to all of the volunteers and staff who worked together to help us open our doors to pilgrims from all over Houston and south Texas, and even a few visitors from other states!
View the full Mass, including a powerful homily by Fr. Carlos Martins beginning near the 24:00 mark. (Video was live-streamed during the event, produced by Robert Land Productions).
Enjoy photos below from the event, taken by parishioner Brandon Vos of Houston Art & Design.