Military Man to Organize Thérèse of Lisieux Tour
Reliquary Will Visit England and Wales
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LONDON, SEPT. 8, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The bishops' conference of England and Wales has chosen a military officer to handle the logistics of an upcoming tour of the relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
A press release from the conference announced today that the logistics of the Sept. 16 to Oct. 16 tour will be managed by former Green Beret Major David Baldwin, a Royal Marines Commando officer.
Baldwin, also a nuclear industry consultant, noted that in the Marines, one job he had to do was to plan the logistics for "taking the Commando Brigade out to Norway in the winter -- 5,000 men with associated equipment."
Now, he said, "I hope that my brain can get around the logistics of taking St. Thérèse's reliquary around many destinations in this country in a reasonably short space of time."
The relics will travel some 1,367 miles, to 28 venues around England and Wales, including various churches, four Carmelite convents, an Anglican cathedral, a university, a prison and a hospice for the dying.
Baldwin already recruited an Anglican funeral director, Adrian Forsey, to help transport the relics in a specially adapted hearse.
Forsey spontaneously volunteered to leave his business aside for a month so as to accompany the saint's reliquary on tour.
He was approached for advice by the major on transporting the revered cargo, which is encased in a wooden casket weighing some 219 pounds.
This prompted the funeral director to go online to research previous tours of St. Thérèse's relics, which motivated him to get more involved.
He stated, "I could see from the footage what people gained by paying pilgrimage to her and I just felt it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm very privileged to be involved in such a visit."
The relics have visited 42 countries thus far, and due to prior experience, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to view them in the coming tour, the press release noted.
The saint is coming to England from Guyana, through the Eurotunnel under the English Channel, and will go to Tunisia after the month-long tour ends.
Forsey continued: "I want to experience the whole occasion but I'm interested to observe other people's reactions and what they may gain in paying pilgrimage to the relics. I'm particularly pleased it's open to all denominations."
Baldwin encouraged the crowds to come for the tour, regardless of their background: "The invitation's very warmly extended to people of any faith or no faith -- whoever wants to be touched by St. Thérèse and ultimately touched by God."
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On the Net:
Information on relics tour: www.catholicrelics.co.uk