Relics - Holy vessels of Grace and Mercy
We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the Creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore Him whose martyrs they are. -St. Jerome
Relic of St.Antony of Padua
The Shrine Features a Class 1 Relic of St. Antony. The Relic is visible at the base of St.Antony's statue placed at the left side of the main alter. This Relic is an instrument of God's miraculous power.
In his address to the young on the occasion of the 20th World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said: “Relics direct us towards God himself: it is he who, by the power of his grace, grants to weak human beings the courage to bear witness to him before the world. By inviting us to venerate the mortal remains of the martyrs and saints, the Church does not forget that, in the end, these are indeed just human bones, but they are bones that belonged to individuals touched by the living power of God. The relics of the saints are traces of that invisible but real presence which sheds light upon the shadows of the world and reveals the Kingdom of Heaven in our midst. They cry out with us and for us: ‘Maranantha!’ – ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’”.
What is a Relic?
Relics, simply stated, are the physical remains and effects of saints. The word “relic” comes from the Latin relic, meaning to leave behind or abandon. We can think of relics as mementos, left behind by holy men and women called saints after their death.
Why Do We Venerate Relics?
The veneration of relics is an ancient custom. Relics, which in some way related to the saints during their lifetime, continue to bring God’s saving power to his people through the intercession of the saints in Heaven. The saints did not leave us once their earthly lives ended, but rather in/through the communion of saints, they remain close to us, blessing, and praying for us.
There are three classes of relics: first, second, and third.
First-class: Remains from the body of a saint (e.g., a bone fragment) as well as items directly associated with events of Christ’s life and Passion (e.g., a piece of the true cross).
Second-class: An item used or owned by a saint (e.g., a fragment of clothing).
Third-class: An item (e.g., a piece of cloth) that has been touched to a first- or second-class relic. Often, a third-class relic is affixed to a prayer card or medal associated with a particular saint.
A Document of Authentication, typically signed by a bishop, abbot, or religious superior and two witnesses is a means of establishing the authenticity of first- and second-class relics. Third-class relics do not have such documentation; they are venerated through the gift of faith.
With the physical presence of a Relic it is like St.Antony is Physically Present in Palayamkottai. So While praying here in the shrine before St.Antony we can pray with great confidence as like our saint would interceed for sure.