Archive for May 12th, 2008

From the Melbourne “Age” Newspaper

12 May, 2008

“Saints be praised, holy bones hit road”


Father Tiernan Doherty is taking relics around the country.
Photo: John Woudstra

From The
Carolyn Webb
May 9, 2008

He’s not a rock star; he’s a Catholic priest from the little-known Passionist Order, but like Jimmy Barnes, his aim is to inspire veneration.

In the lead-up to World Youth Day in Sydney on July 15, Father Doherty will chaperone the relics — slivers of bone — of three saints.

They’ve been sent to Canberra from the Basilica of St John and St Paul in Rome. Yesterday Father Doherty drove them to Melbourne and handed them to Father John Pearce, the Passionists’ Australian head, at the Kew office of tour sponsor Le Pine Funerals.

They will “stay” at the Passionists’ Holy Cross monastery in Templestowe until the tour of NSW, Victoria and South Australia next month.

All three of the saints were Italian. Like rock stars, they all died young.

Gabriel Possenti was 23 when he died of tuberculosis in 1862 while studying to be a Passionist priest. He was adopted long after his death by the US gun lobby, which claims his firearm skills saved a village from marauders in 1860.

But Father Pearce, of St Paul Apostle in Endeavour Hills, says this is a fable. He had been a hunter, but guns were common in Italian villages to shoot pigs.

Maria Goretti died horribly — in 1902, age 11, she was attacked by an intruder who tried to rape her, and then stabbed her to death when she said she’d rather die than submit.

St Gemma Galgani died aged 25 in 1903. She had suffered meningitis, cared for her seven siblings when their parents died, and developed stigmata-like gashes in her hands, feet and heart. She died of tuberculosis.

The itinerary for the metre-long closed reliquary includes a service on June 10 St Paul Apostle in Endeavour Hills; a 7pm mass at St Bernadette’s in Sunshine; a sitting at the Holy Cross Monastery, Templestowe, on June 14, and St Brendan’s in Shepparton on June 25 and 26.