Several of the long-venerated relics -- from pieces of the cross, to replicas of the nails believed to have been used 2,000 years ago to crucify Christ -- are now on public display in Washington, D.C. The relics will be shown at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center through April 18.
The St. Louis and Washington events were organized by the Apostolate for Holy Relics, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that last year drew more than 140,000 people to displays of a 16th-century relic of St. Juan Diego.
"The line to see the relics here was two to three hours long," explained the groups' president, Tom Serafin,
who traveled to St. Louis with the relics. "We are very pleased that people have taken the time to increase their faith and link to Christ's death in this special way."
Andrew Walther, vice president of the Apostolate for Holy Relics, said: "For those who cannot visit the relic shrines in Rome, or the Holy Land itself, this is as close as many people will come to artifacts associated with the crucifixion."
"We hope that people will come away from viewing these relics with an increased faith and personal connection to Christ's loving sacrifice," he added.
Serafin added his thanks to those who are hosting the events.
"We are grateful," he said, "to Archbishop Burke and the Archdiocese of St. Louis and to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center for providing venues in which these rare and moving items can shown to the American public for the first time in recent memory."