Mila Glodava didn’t settle for a regular college term project. With the help of her pastor, Father Andrew Kemberling, she decided to put on a display of relics for the whole archdiocese in her parish, St. Vincent de Paul in Denver.
Glodava just received her Master’s of Arts in Theology last May. For her final class, Church and Modernity, she was required to do a project showcasing all that she had learned throughout her course of study. She decided to use the lives of various saints to illustrate Church history. She approached her pastor about the project, since he helped her develop her devotion to relics and saints. Together, they created a display of relics and hagiographies that walked viewers through the history of the Church. The display took place Nov. 7-9 at St. Vincent de Paul parish.
“Because my course was about Church history, I decided to feature the saints during their time in history,” Glodava said. “It is so amazing to learn about how the Church started, the challenges it faced from persecutions of the early Christians and their subsequent martyrdom.”
The display also included modern favorites, such as St. Gemma Galgani and Glodava’s personal favorite, St. Therese of Lisieux. She said she hoped the display would encourage others to have devotions to the saints.
“I hope people will learn from saints on how to be holy. They are a great model for us to imitate,” Glodava said.
It was fitting that Glodava was able to work with Father Kemberling, as he helped her begin her devotion to relics when he was at St. Thomas More in Englewood. Father Kemberling managed to collect nearly 60 first class relics. He continued collecting at St. Vincent de Paul. In fact, Father Kemberling has made rescuing relics something of a personal apostolate.
“My whole approach has been to rescue relics that are in danger of being profaned,” Father Kemberling said. “This is one of those prayers that we as Catholics think is important: To venerate the saints.”
Relic: A physical object to increase devotion to a Holy person or place.
First class: An actual piece of the person or place (ie, a bone fragment of a saint or a fragment of the True Cross)
Second class: Something that was important to the saint and that they touched (usually frequently). This can include clothes, rosaries, etc.
Third class: Something that has touched a first or second class relic, or has touched the shrine of the saint.
Reliquary: A beautiful display for a relic. These are often made out of precious metals and artfully wrought. They resemble a tiny monstrance (the thing that holds the Eucharist in Adoration).
Hagiography: A writing on the life of the saint.