URBANDALE, Iowa -- Iowans from across the state flocked to a small church at Living History Farms to see a first-class relic of Saint John Paul II: a vial containing several drops of the former pope's blood. He physically visited Living History Farms in 1979.
“Relics are a way for us, the family of Jesus, which is the church, to really honor our older brothers and sisters the Saints, and to ask their intercession to help us to be holy, to become saints ourselves, and for any personal needs or intentions that we have,” said Sister Grace Marie.
Sister Grace Marie belongs to the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and she is traveling across the country along with the relic.
“It's a privilege. It's a privilege and a blessing. There's no other way to describe it. To see...and it's a reminder to each one of us the call to holiness that we have. The call to be holy, to really impact the lives of so many with the love of Christ, and that's exactly what John Paul did throughout life,” she said.
Those coming to see the relic did so with rosaries and prayers; they said it's a special day.
“First of all, the fact that he had actually visited here and now in a sense is coming back to Iowa. Giving people a chance to interact with him again, with his spirit. To receive the blessing of that spiritual presence. Hopefully to take away a little kinder attitude towards the world,” said Gene McKelvey
McKelvey, who created a piece of artwork that sat behind the relic, said this experience gave him a chance to make up for lost time.
“During his physical visit here I had a broken leg and wasn't able to come and visit him and be there for that mass. So this is a chance to interact in a special way,” he said.
After its stay in Des Moines, the relic moves to Indiana.