Friday, August 04, 2017

A Relic of St Peter’s Chains in Vermont

Our thanks to reader Raymond Trainque for this sending in, following up on our post three days ago on the Chains of St Peter.

The diocese of Burlington, Vermont not only has a full-size facsimile of the chains displayed at St. Peter’s ad Vincula (which itself is a third-class relic, since each link was touched to the corresponding link of the original), but also has in its archives one of the actual links which bound the first Pope. Both of these holy objects were obtained through the boldness of Bishop Louis de Goesbriand (first bishop of Burlington) and the solicitude of Pope Leo XIII.

Stopping in Rome on his way to Jerusalem in 1893, de Goesbriand venerated the relics at St. Peter’s and was so struck by them that he sought and obtained permission to have a facsimile made as described above for his diocese. Discovering that seven links of the same chain were kept and seemingly nearly forgotten at St Cecilia’s in Rome, he went about obtaining one of these authentic relics. First beseeching Leo XIII in an audience before departing for the Holy Land, de Goesbriand was told that he would have a decision upon his return from the pilgrimage. Once again meeting with the Pope before setting off for Vermont, permission was granted, and one of the links was taken off and placed in a reliquary for him to take home.

On occasion, this precious relic is taken from the archives for public veneration by the faithful. This past August 1, the newly-established St. Philip Neri Latin Mass Chaplaincy ( was blessed to be able to provide one such opportunity in honor of the feast of St Peter in Chains. The relic was on the altar for a Missa Cantata and was made available for veneration by those in attendance. Of special note, our torchbearers for this Mass were two of our diocesan seminarians, with another assisting from the pews and at least two others who would have gladly joined us had circumstances allowed.

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