MONTREAL – A Catholic group says it is bringing the right forearm of a 16th-century Jesuit missionary on a cross-Canada tour to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday.
A spokesperson for Catholic Christian Outreach says the relic of Saint-Francois-Xavier will visit 14 Canadian cities during a month-long tour that kicks off on Jan. 3.
Debra Proulx says the saint’s right forearm is considered an important religious relic that is rarely allowed to leave Rome.
She says the relic is well-preserved since it never fully decomposed after the Spanish-born saint died in 1552.
She said that while the arm may be a curiosity for some Canadians, venerating the physical remains of saints is an important aspect of some Christians’ faith.
The tour’s organizers, which include the Ottawa archdiocese and the Jesuits of Canada, say they expects over 100,000 visitors once the tour begins in Quebec City.