Though it functioned informally for several years, the Apostolate for Holy Relics was incorporated by the State of California on January 1, 2002 as a non-profit organization tax exempt, public benefit corporation founded by Thomas Serafin. The organization was dedicated to the cause and devotion of authenticated relics. At the time of its inauguration Monsignor Francis J. Weber, then Archivist for the Diocese of Los Angeles, was designated as the Spiritual Moderator. Monsignor Weber continues in that role today.
Since its inauguration, the Apostolate has sponsored hundreds of relic pilgrimages through the United States, including the "Tilma of Tepeyac" tour which extended to no less than twenty-two archdioceses and dioceses. That relic is now on permanent exhibit at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angeles in Los Angeles.
Our current tours include Call from the Crucified Heart: A Program with Relics of the Passion, Stigmata of Love: A program with Relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, and Messages of Divine Mercy: A Program with Relics of Saint Faustyna.
We have a rich history of tours around the world with various relic collections that are under the care of the Apostolate for Holy Relics. Because of our expertise in the field, as well as the scope and reach of our ongoing tours with holy relics, we have also partnered with multiple Catholic organizations to bring other significant relics to the broader Christian spectrum in the United States and abroad.
Extraordinary Year of Mercy Tour
The Year of Mercy was certainly a year full of wonderful events that were hosted at many parishes, retreat centers, shrines and convents. More than 30,000 people had the opportunity to engage in our meditative program and venerate our Relics of the Passion collection in our travels across 15 states. More than 10,000 individuals added our program of meditations on Christ’s road to Calvary to their collection of prayers for ongoing devotion to His Passion. We couldn’t have been more blessed.
Extraordinary Year of Mercy Tour
The Relics of the Passion is the signature collection of the Apostolate for Holy relics. Reviewed and authenticated by Church authorities prior to their first public tour in 2007, the Relics of the Passion have been venerated in more than 20 dioceses in the United States, Guam and the Philippines, where more than a million people came to see and venerate the rare relics. Although the presentation and veneration of the relics has remained the same, the supporting program that highlights the events of Our Lord's Passion has been gradually enhanced over the years and now provides for a one-hour meditative program with supporting musical pieces. Having a number of significant holy relics in one place is relatively rare and does not often take place outside the Holy Land or Rome. The faithful have continually exhibited a significant level of participation and have conveyed sincere words of appreciation for the positive spiritual experience they have had during and after attending our programs.
Operation Special Intention and Military Saints Tour
The relics traveled throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2007. The collection includes relics of St. Anthony of Padua, patron of sailors, St. Therese of Lisieux, patron of pilots and air crews and St. Ignatius of Loyola, patron of soldiers. In these events the faithful are asked to pray for troops serving in harms way. The tour for these saints began in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Called Operation: Special Intention, the tour of these relics was a joint effort between the Los Angeles-based International Crusade for Holy Relics (ICHR), the Apostolate for Holy relics (AHR) and the deacons of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. "With the men and women of our armed forces deployed in harms way throughout the world, we wanted to find a way to let those of us on the home front support the troops with our prayers for their safety and for peace in the world. It is also an opportunity for us to pray for the souls of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice", said Thomas Serafin, AHR and ICHR president.
Martyred Saints of Vietnam Tour
On Sunday, November 16, 2014 the celebration of the Vietnam Martyrs drew more than 3,000 Catholics to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown L.A. One family after another spilled from 20 buses, representing 14 parishes from throughout the region and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. After Jesuit missionaries introduced Catholicism to Vietnam, rulers there banned foreign missionaries. The martyrs, who were killed between the 16th and 19th centuries, included Asians and Europeans, priests and laypeople who were persecuted for refusing to denounce their faith. Pope John Paul II canonized the martyrs and 114 other saints in 1988 — in the largest ceremony of its kind in church history.
Tilma of Tepeyac Tours
Thousands of the faithful turned out in cities around the United States as the Tilma of Tepeyac Tour brought a piece of St. Juan Diego’s tilma – the cloth that holds the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe – to more than a dozen dioceses around the country. The May to December 2003 tour was organized by the Apostolate for Holy Relics (AHR) and was cosponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The image on the tilma, or cloak, of a poor Indian named Juan Diego was miraculously created by the Virgin Mary in 1531. The image is among the most recognizable religious symbols in Latin America, and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is a favorite of Catholics throughout the Western Hemisphere. The relic, presumed to be the only one in the United States, is a small portion of Juan Diego's tilma that was given to Archbishop John Cantwell of Los Angeles by the Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez of Mexico City in 1941. It has been in the archive of the Los Angeles archdiocese since 1981. The tilma relica is now permanently ensconced in a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Cathedral of the Angels in Los Angeles.