Birmingham: thousands venerate relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux

The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux, were venerated by more than 11,000 pilgrims during their visit to the Metropolitan Cathedral and Minor Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham. At no time were there less than 200 people in the Cathedral even through the two all night vigils.

The relics arrived at St Chad's Cathedral at 2.10pm on Saturday, 19 September, and left after 6.30am Mass on Monday 21 September.

The Service of Welcome was presided over by Bishop Philip Pargeter, who recently retired as Auxiliary Bishop. A Mass and Anointing of the Sick celebrated by Bishop David McGough, Auxiliary Bishop, on Saturday afternoon.

In his homily Bishop McGough said: "From the earliest times in the Church the faithful have gone on pilgrimage to Holy Places to feel closer to the events that unfolded in those places, to feel closer to holy men and women who were buried in these places. Today the pilgrimage is reversed. The relics of St Thérèse have come to us."

The Cathedral was full for the midnight youth Mass. Bishop William Kenney, CP, Diocesan Administrator for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, celebrated and preached at the 4.30 pm Mass on Sunday afternoon for Religious.  Bishop Kenney also celebrated and preached at the 6.30am Mass and Farewell Ceremony attended by more than 200 pilgrims, including the Carmelite nuns from Wolverhampton and Scotland, some of whom remained near the relics throughout the visit.

During his homily, Bishop Kenney said: "Thérèse now wanders further to Coleshill – where she is going to be part of another community there." - The Parish Church of the Sacred Heart & St Teresa, where Fr Marcus Stock, soon to take up his appointment as General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, is Parish Priest. 

Bishop Kenney said: "What we need to realise is that her coming to us is undoubtedly a grace; that grace is only effective in so far that it makes me wish to go on my pilgrimage to look forward to God.

"If saying farewell to these relics is to bring something to us it should be yours and my intention not to say farewell but to continue on our pilgrimage to God. We are grateful for this time that she has been with us; we hope that she will inspire us on our way to the Kingdom of Heaven."

Asked for his thoughts after the relics had left St Chad's Cathedral, Bishop Kenney said: "The visit of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux to St Chad’s Cathedral Birmingham has been a time of great grace for the Diocese, and in particular for the many thousands of pilgrims who came to venerate them in person. All of us need reminders that it is possible to be holy by doing the ordinary things of life extraordinarily well."

Share this story