Relics are objects associated with saints. The word relic comes from the Latin word reliquiae, meaning “remains.” A relic could be a bone from the saint or it could be a piece of clothing the saint wore.
A container used to hold a relic is called a reliquary. Some people keep relics as a reminder of a patron saint. Others believe they have miraculous powers, however the Church does not teach that relics hold any special powers. Relics have fascinated people for centuries, often with varying legends, rumors, and controversy accompanying them. The Vatican rarely confirms the authenticity of these objects. There are three different classes of relics:
- First class: An actual part of the saint’s body (or could be a whole body).
- Second class: An article of clothing or something the saint used during his or her lifetime.
- Third class: Any object that is touched to a first class relic. Most third-class relics are small pieces of cloth.