A crystal vial of blood from Pope John Paul the second will be built into a relic in a Polish church now as the world observes the passing of the pope as he awaits canonization. The blood was drawn from the Pope prior to his death, and will be encased in crystal and placed at the base of an altar according to Piotr Sionko, who spoke from the John Paul II center.
The move is sure to make the small church where the blood’s final resting place will be a site of pilgrimage to those seeking to assist the pope in his ascension into sainthood, which is expected by supporters to occur on May 1st. But how did a vial of the Pope’s blood end up in the hands of his supporters? The Gemelli Polyclinic drew the Pope’s blood for testing purposes on April 2nd of 2005, just weeks before his death. After his death, the blood was kept refrigerated in case it would ever be needed for testing purposes. And now five years later, the sample has been handed over to Cardinal Dziwisz who then took the idea to Piotr Sionko. As the church was being built in memory of the pope, the final resting place of his blood will be a matter of great importance to the church.
As it is being considered a holy relic of John Paul the second, there has been much support for the move as well as some reservation. Many who have heard the news have proclaimed that the use of holy relics to spread the interests of faith is a move that heralds back to a time when the church was very different and used objects of significance to portray their messages when ideas were not on their own well understood. But as it is generating a great deal of support, it seems likely at this moment that the plan to use the vial containing the pope’s blood will indeed be used in the building of the church under Dziwisz.
And if the use of the Pope’s blood seems unique, bear in mind that many holy relics have been used over the course of the history of the Catholic church including the use of religious artifacts associated with the saints to promote healing and miracles. Several passages dealing with the healing of the sick and dying when they came into contact with Elisha’s bones. And if not that, then the cloak Jesus wore has been said to provide healing powers to the sick, dying, and blind as well. And so as a result, whenever a new saint is canonized, their personal belonging often become a matter of great interest to those seeking miracles and many are even displayed or taken on the road to travel.
And in this case the creation of the relic and placing it in a solid structure will be a particularly important step in this school of thought because it will leave little room to question its authenticity as the blood sample was drawn from its source only five years ago.