Tucked away in Cathedral Museum is an ornate reliquary containing two small slivers of wood from the True Cross of Christ, found in Jerusalem by St. Helena in 326 A.D. and later recovered from the Persians in 629 AD.
The slivers are arranged in the shape of a cross and carefully stored in a sealed container, which is beautifully displayed in the reliquary According to a placard located next to them, some people are skeptical of St. Helena’s discovery; however, the Church has dedicated a special feast day, the Triumph of the Holy Cross — celebrated each year on Sept. 14 — to its discovery and recovery.
Father Phillip Widmann, museum director and pastor of Fort Wayne’s St. Mary, Mother of God, Parish, said the relics came from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He remembers that, as he was growing up, cathedral rector Msgr. Thomas L. Durkin would bless people on Good Friday with the relics.
Holy Week is a time of waiting with joyful anticipation for the Easter Triduum; a visit to the Cathedral Museum to see relics of the true cross may be a helpful visual reminder of the Lord’s Passion. As is traditionally sung on Good Friday, “Behold, behold the wood of the Cross.”
The museum is in the lower level of the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, at 915 S. Clinton St. in Fort Wayne. Admission and parking are free. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or anytime by appointment. For more information call 260-422-4611.
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