By Tom Maguire | Associate editor

It was a “very emotional day” for Bishop Douglas J. Lucia on Oct. 17 for the Mass of Installation of the Relic of Saint John Paul II at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Syracuse.

The bishop noted that he had celebrated more than one Mass with Saint John Paul II and had shaken his hand and kissed his ring.

“I find it very emotional that he comes to this place today,” said the bishop, who noted that Saint John Paul II had said, “You and I have nothing to fear.”

“His ministry was all about bringing Christ to the world,” Bishop Lucia said.

Turning to the relic, which consists of hairs of the saint, the bishop asked the saint to “help us to open our hearts to Christ,” and he expressed his wish for all to “take up the mantle of servanthood.”

The program for the Mass states, “Our gratitude goes to the Most Reverend Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, Archbishop of Lviv, Ukraine, for providing the Basilica with the Relic of Saint John Paul II.”

Bishop Lucia sprinkled the reliquary with holy water and incensed it. After Communion, the bishop transferred the relic to the reliquary, a glass case, next to the statue of Saint John Paul II. While the bishop incensed the relic, the congregation sang “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”

“What a joy. What a celebration. What an honor,” said concelebrant Father Andrew E. Baranski, the rector of the basilica. Overjoyed about the relic, he added: “We have it. Thank God.”

At the end of the celebration, Michael, Marta, Mick and Marisa Chmielewski presented flowers to the bishop, and Father Baranski led the congregation in the Basilica’s prayer for vocations.

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