MUMBAI, India — A reliquary containing a cloth with a drop of blood from Blessed Pope John Paul II has arrived in India to be displayed and venerated at a Marian basilica in the Archdiocese of Bombay.
Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the apostolic nuncio to India, presented the relic to Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay at Mount Mary’s Basilica at Bandra.
Archbishop Pennacchio was in the archdiocese on an official two-day visit.
“The nuncio’s visit marks an important faith factor to reconfirm the growth of faith and mission activity of evangelization,” said Father Antony Charanghat, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Bombay.
He told CNA that receiving the relic during the current Year of Faith “is a twin joy.”
People in India have great “love, affinity and memory” of Pope John Paul II, as a result of his 1986 apostolic visit to the country, Father Charanghat said.
“People of all faith recognized him as an enduring pope and a great leader.”
Known for his world travel and outreach to youth, among other things, Blessed John Paul II died in 2005, and he will reportedly be canonized by Pope Francis next spring.
The relic of the beatified Pope was presented to the rector of Mount Mary’s Basilica at the end of a Sept. 8 Mass.
Attended by more than 8,000 people, the Mass concluded a novena and festival of Mary’s Nativity, celebrated throughout the country by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
In his homily, the nuncio reflected on the Virgin Mary, to whom John Paul II had a great devotion.
He defended Catholics’ veneration of Mary, noting that “we honor her precisely because she is the ‘best disciple,’ the most transparent example of what it means to follow Jesus and to do God’s will.”
Mary helps teach Christians their faith, he said, as “our sister, our ‘Mother of faith,’ our fellow disciple.”
“Rightly understood, devotion to Mary helps us to be God-centered, as she was,” the nuncio said, “and it will not take us away from Christ, but it will lead us to better follow the path of Jesus.”