The Veneration of Relics is permitted only in parish churches or churches under the care of religious orders. Veneration is always public, because, like every act of worship, it always pertains to the community. Veneration is also an expression of faith in the communion of saints and in their intercession. Therefore, there is no such thing as “private” devotion.
Please note: Relics are not collectors’ items, and are certainly not to be put on sale: sales of this kind are acts of simony.
1st class relics
For all of these reasons, the Office of the General Postulator may provide 1st class relics (i.e. ex ossibus, ex corpore, ex carne, ex pulvere, etc.) only to bishops, since, as of October 20, 2014, we have been so advised by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Through this rule, proper public devotion is assured. Lay persons, religious, and priests may obtain a 1st class relic through a request from their local bishop. Copies of requests or requests attached to an e-mail are not acceptable. The request has to come via ordinary mail, on official stationery and with an official stamp and signature, accompanied by the written authorization of the diocesan Ordinary. First class Relics cannot be sent by mail. They must be picked up at the Postulation office in Rome.
2nd and 3rd class relics
2nd class relics (ex indumentis, or similar) or 3rd class relics (items of contact) can be given to all the faithful. They are normally attached to a prayer card. The Office can send 2nd and 3rd class relics to anyone who asks for them. In this case too we ask for a letter to be sent via ordinary mail, as emails are not acceptable. Generic requests will not be considered.
Fr. Thomas Klosterkamp O.M.I., Postulator General