Friday, September 10, 2021

A New Relic Shrine in Covington Cathedral

Thanks to our good friend Fr Jordan Hainsey of the diocese of Covington, Kentucky, for sharing with us these pictures of the beautiful new relic shrine in Covington cathedral. Bishop Foys has appointed Fr Hainsey as the diocesan custodian of the relics, with the duty to care for and expand the collection, and promote devotion to the relics throughout the diocese.

On August 23, the feast of Rose of Lima, a relic shrine to St Paul was dedicated and consecrated in St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in the diocese of Covington, Kentucky, by Bishop Roger J. Foys. The shrine is located beneath the cathedral’s baldacchino, and displays a collection of over 300 relics.
The heart of the collection is two skulls taken from among the 11,000 companion martyrs of St Ursula; these were donated by the shine of these martyrs in Cologne, Germany, to Covington’s third bishop, Camillus Paul Maes, in the 1890s. Over the course of his 30 year episcopate, Bishop Maes expanded the collection with dozens of 1st and 2nd class for the growing Church in northern Kentucky.
Bishop Foys has expanded the collection with several relics of newer Saints and Blesseds, including Saints John Paul II, Maximilian Kolbe, Teresa of Calcutta, Damien of Molokai, Katharine Drexel, Oscar Romero, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Louis and Zélie Martin, Edith Stein, José Sánchez del Río, Faustina Kowalska, and Conrad of Parzham, and Blesseds Karl of Austria, Solanus Casey, Stanley Rother, Miguel Pro, Carlo Acutis, Franz Jägerstätter, Anna Maria Taigi, Clelia Merloni, Francis Xavier Seelos, and Mariam Teresa Demjanovich.
With the support of Bishop Foys, Fr Jordan Hainsey, the diocesan episcopal Master of Ceremonies, oversaw the design and construction of the altar, as well as the gilded altarpiece commissioned from New Guild Studios of Braddock, PA. With St Paul at the center, four vignettes in the lower register depict important events in the life of the Diocese of Covington: its establishment by Pope Blessed Pius IX; the building of the cathedral basilica by Bishop Maes; his entombment in the Cathedral Basilica; and the translation of the major relics to the St. Paul Relic Shrine. The trefoil at the top depicts the hand of God offering St Paul the crown of victory, while two roundels at the side show the coats of arms of the cathedral basilica and Bishop Foys.
Made of white oak with gilded details to match the cathedral’s interior wood appointments, the altar, reredos, and predella are in a neo-Gothic style that blends with the church interior schema. During the altar’s consecration, a first class relic of St Paul was sealed in a new altar stone.

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