A relic is something connected with a saint or blessed, including a part of their body (e.g. hair or a piece of bone), their clothing, or an object that the person used or touched.
Relics are classified as 1st Class – a part of the person’s body, for example: blood, hair, or bones; 2nd Class ‑ an article touched by the person or touched directly to part of his or her body; and 3rd Class ‑ something touched indirectly to the person, that is, to a 1st or 2nd Class relic, to the tomb, etc.
It is not the kind of relic or how big it is that is important, but rather the faith and prayer that the relic occasions. By the communion of saints, it is that person who is close to us, blessing and praying for us.
“In all, relics remind us of the holiness of a saint and his cooperation in God’s work; at the same time, relics inspire us to ask for the prayers of that saint and to beg the grace of God to live the same kind a faith-filled life.” (Saunders)
Venerating relics is included among other “expressions of piety [that] extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it.” (CCC #1675)
“In his Letter to Riparius, St. Jerome (d. 420) wrote in defence of relics: ‘We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the Creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore Him whose martyrs they are.’” (Saunders, “Keeping…”)
Abuses and misconceptions of relics in the history of the Church, such as selling relics (simony) or their forgeries and using relics as kinds of good-luck charms led the Church to establish guidelines defining the proper use of relics: “Pastoral discernment is needed to sustain and support popular piety and, if necessary, to purify and correct the religious sense which underlies these devotions so that the faithful may advance in knowledge of the mystery of Christ. Their exercise is subject to the care and judgment of the bishops and to the general norms of the Church.” (CCC #1676)
According to the tradition and norms of the Church, first class relics must be treated with proper reverence, sealed in a proper container and authenticated with a certificate from the Postulator. The second and third class relics of Blessed Teresa are also authenticated by the Postulator.
According to the laws of the Church, relics should never be sold. It is understood, however, that an offering can be made out of courtesy to cover production, shipping, and handling.
♦VENERATION AND RELICS OF SAINT TERESA OF CALCUTTA
The Church distinguishes between the cult (i.e. formal veneration) of a Blessed and that of a Saint. The act of beatification provides the faithful the opportunity to offer public veneration to a Blessed within set limits; a canonized Saint, however, can receive public veneration throughout the universal Church.
The liturgical feast of Saint Teresa of Calcutta is September 5, the anniversary of her death, and is celebrated with the rank of an optional memorial.
♦Where is Saint Teresa of Calcutta buried?
The mortal remains of Saint Teresa are in a marble-covered stone tomb on the ground floor of the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.
For Parishes that would like to receives a relic of Saint Teresa of Calcutta for the public veneration of the faithful to be exposed in their Parish Churches. A request letter on the Letterhead of the Parish and from the Parish Priest/ Pastor is necessary. That Letter needs to originally signed and by the Parish Priest and stamped with the Parish seal and sent to one of the above address.
There are numerous commercial sites on the web selling “relics” of Saint Teresa, some claiming these are “from the Vatican”. Without the authentication of the Postulator, no relic has the guarantee of authenticity and should be regarded as doubtful and with suspicion. Moreover, selling sacred relics is absolutely forbidden by the Church!