Relic from Christ’s birth loaned to Ferriday church
Published 12:02 am Monday, December 22, 2014
Editor’s note: This story as originally published contained incorrect information. The Christmas Latin Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Ferriday will be midnight Dec. 24. The ordinary form of the Mass will be celebrated at 9:45 a.m. Christmas Day.
FERRIDAY — A true relic of Christ’s birth paid a visit to St. Patrick Church in Ferriday this weekend — bringing hope and blessings to the congregation.
The relic of the manger that Jesus Christ was born in more than 2,000 years ago sat before the Rev. Louis Sklar during St. Patrick’s Latin Mass Sunday.
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The relic, which Sklar obtained for the weekend from the Rev. Greg Downs of Natchitoches, was loaned to Sklar as his congregation prepares for Christmas, while sending a special prayer to a friend in Alexandria.
“I explained to (Downs) the dire situation and asked for prayers for this lady who has spent her career helping cancer patients in Alexandria, but now she had been diagnosed with cancer,” Sklar said. “He called me and said, ‘It’s coming upon the Christmas season, and I just happen to have a true relic of the Holy crib, and if would like to bring it and bless her with this relic, I will let you use it.’”
Sklar and Thomas Kennedy, a seminarian who is training for priesthood, sat the relic in front of the statue of The Infant Jesus of Prague during services at the Ferriday church.
Sklar said many members of St. Patrick Church have stayed after Mass throughout the weekend to gaze upon the relic, which Sklar saw as a great honor for the church to host.
“We have had different relics here for different occasions, and yet, it kind of bridges the gap as we prepare for the coming of our Lord into this world for Christmas,” Sklar said. “The number of people who have stayed to pray was beautifully surprising.”
Sklar is all about faith, but the relic reminded him of his love for history.
“It is such a physical connection with that moment, the moment of the King’s entry into this world in such a very simple and humble way,” Sklar said.
Kennedy said it’s important to have the relic as the church approaches Christmas.
“To have this historic piece of the life of Christ here with us is spiritually uplifting for us,” Kennedy said. “To have that real, tangible, historical connection to Christ is something that goes beyond just belief, but it’s something real and grab.”
Sklar said he was pleased with the reaction of the congregation, and was glad to host the relic one last time Sunday before returning it to Downs in Natchitoches.
“I saw the ripple on the congregation faces Saturday,” Sklar said. “That’s when I restated to please keep in mind that this is a true relic of what we are and what we have been preparing for.”
St. Patrick plays hosts to three other relics that are on display all year — Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, St. Louis King of France and St. Therese, the Little Flower.
St. Patrick will host several Christmas Mass services from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26. St Patrick is located on 601 Florida Ave. in Ferriday.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, music starts at 5:40 p.m.
At midnight on Wednesday.
Latin Mass at 9:45 a.m. Thursday. Breakfast will be served.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday.