Relics of popes available for veneration at Valley of Our Lady Monastery Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Sr. Mary Bede Berg, O.CIST. Valley of Lady Monastery   
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the [apostles]. . . . Because of the faith he confessed, Peter will remain the unshakeable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 552)

The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 882; quotation from LG 23)

PRAIRIE DU SAC -- During these difficult days in the Church, perhaps our friends the saints can help us and provide a guiding light. We celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter on February 22, so it seems fitting to highlight the role of the papacy and the many popes who have been canonized.

Among the collection of relics at Valley of Our Lady Monastery are those of a number of popes: Peter the Apostle, Alexander I, Callistus I, Julius I, Anastasius I, Gregory the Great, Eugene I, and Pius X. Several of these saints gave their lives for the faith by dying as martyrs; all of them gave their lives in faithful service.

Work of salvation continues

The courageous witness of St. Peter and his successors can be sources of inspiration and help for our times, but it is also good to recall that these men too needed encouragement. In what is still a favorite work among popes and bishops, St. Bernard of Clairvaux reminds his former disciple Blessed Eugene III, a Cistercian monk elected pope, that his work is only part of the unfolding of salvation history, an ongoing privilege and responsibility:

"Learn . . . to preside not so much in order to command as to do what the time requires. Learn that you need a hoe, not a scepter. . . . Do you think that you also can find work to be done in the field of your Lord? Much indeed.

"Certainly the prophets could not correct everything. They left something for their sons, the apostles, to do; and they, your parents, have left something for you. But you cannot do everything. For you will leave something to your successor, and he to others, and they to others until the end of time" (De Consideratione 2.9, transl. Anderson & Kennan).

It is good to remind ourselves that the task of purification and sanctification, in the Church as in all creation, is one that will keep us busy until the end of time. By their example and their prayers, the saints whom we venerate continue to work with and for us. They too were sinners on their way to holiness during their lives on earth; they too had their faults and failings; and the times in which they lived were also turbulent.

The Church has passed through persecutions, trials, and purifications of numerous and varied kinds throughout the centuries; yet Christ promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. He founded on the rock of Peter, and that promise stands firm.

Public veneration

On Sunday, Feb. 17, the relics at Valley of Our Lady Monastery will again be available for public veneration.

Mass, always open to the public, is at 8 a.m; the relics will be on display beginning after Mass through Vespers at 4:45 p.m.

There will also be Adoration in the monastery chapel from approximately 2 p.m. through Vespers.

Valley of Our Lady Monastery is located at E11096 Yanke Dr., Prairie du Sac, WI 53578-9737.

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