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CURRENT ISSUE:  February 21, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Museum exhibit explores Catholic mission heritage
Serra sainthood cause just one miracle away
Schools’ survival depends on Latino participation
Magdalene relic draws
interest across generations

Joyce Gould prays in front of the relic of Mary Magdalene.
José Luis Aguirre photo

“You’re in the presence of a saint,” Tim Hooke told his students who were seated quietly in the sanctuary at Holy Rosary Church as they waited their turn to take a close look at a relic of St. Mary Magdalene. “And not just a saint,” he added, “but a friend of Jesus.”

The seventh-graders then rose from their seats and filed toward the altar of the Antioch church to pick up a prayer card and, one by one, pause before the relic, a portion of St. Mary Magdalene’s tibia, or shinbone.
Hooke, in his 13th year of teaching at the school from which he graduated, knew his pupils were seeing something extraordinary. He said he had not seen a relic until he visited Europe as an adult.

The pupils’ visit was among the early highlights of the relic’s Feb 15 visit to the parish of more than 3,000 families. During their visit, the Gospel was read and Father François LeHégaret, the French Dominican priest who is accompanying the relic on its Northern California tour, gave a homily.

Among the more than two dozen early arrivals who paused to pray at the relic was Lucy Vera, who said she has been a Holy Rosary parishioner “all my life.”

Joyce Gould, a parishioner at St. Ignatius of Antioch, said she usually makes a visit to Holy Rosary during the week, timing her stop this time to view the relic.

“I came to pray and see if I could get some healing,” said Elizabeth Zaldivar, a parishioner at Holy Rosary, who said she was facing some medical issues.

The relic of St. Mary Magdalene was scheduled to be in Northern California for an additional week, and then travel to Southern California for two weeks.

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