Yesterday, 5th November, was the day when dioceses in the south of England kept the feast of the Holy Relics. This is a feast in the calendar of the Extraordinary Form, in which the Saints whose relics are preserved in the diocese are venerated in a special way. This feast is in November because it fits in well with the feasts of All Saints and All Souls, when we think of our saintly predecessors in the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant.
In the Norbertine Order, we celebrate a similar feast on 14th November, when we recall the many great relics preserved and venerated in Premonstratensian Canonries throughout the world. This devotion is one we are proud to maintain; Our Holy Father Norbert miraculously discovered the relics of various Saints of Cologne presumed missing, and was able to bring them to Prémontré, where they were venerated since the very beginning of our Order. As Saint Norbert recommended:
“You must have a great veneration for the relics of the Saints, for they are more precious than all the treasures of the world. Should you possess any in your house, consider them as the guardians of your home and your heart.” – St. Norbert
The Saints in Heaven are close to us, because they never cease to intercede for us to God, but they seem closer to us when we venerate their precious relics. These earthly remains remind us that we are all called to sanctity, all called to be with God once our earthly lives are over. In our parish yesterday a Mass in the Premonstratensian usus antiquior was celebrated in honour of the holy relics of the diocese of Brentwood.