Catholics Crowd into OKC Church To View Sacred Relics
Wednesday, December 15th 1999, 12:00 am
News On 6
Thousands of people crowded into a Catholic church in Oklahoma City Tuesday to see the casket of a saint who died more than 100 years ago. The relics of Saint Therese are on a national tour and the Church of the Little Flower was the only stop scheduled in Oklahoma.
The line stretched around the church all day Tuesday. Hundreds waited for hours for a brief moment with a wooden box containing the bones of Therese. She was a French nun who died at the age of 24. She impressed many with her simple faith, and soon after her death people reported miracles after praying to her. "There has been testimony upon testimony of experiences when people have prayed to this simple saint that she has touched their life,â€ said Father Rubin Garcia.
As they approached the simple box, many knelt, some prayed and others kissed the protective covering over the box. It was a rare opportunity for some followers to get close to the saint they pray to daily. "Saints are members of our family,â€ explained Sister Stephen Larson. â€œJust because they are with God, doesn't mean they have forgotten us here on earth. Would you ask a friend here on earth to pray for you? Why can't you ask a saint in heaven? They're that much closer to God," she said.
Catholics have come to Oklahoma from many states to see these relics, believing they offer not only inspiration, but also some healing power. Frank Moumtford came to the church hoping for a miracle and says something happened when he touched the box. â€œI just prayed, believed and asked God to help me,â€ said Moumtford â€œI also asked Saint Therese to help me. I felt this strange warm feeling. It was wonderful.â€
Many worshippers took rose petals and pictures of Saint Therese to keep as blessed souvenirs. For Catholics, Saint Therese is a symbol of goodness and simplicity. Many followers believe they can build their faith by merely being the presence of such a saint whose life is still admired 100 years after her death.
Mother Theresa took her name after Saint Therese, who was declared a saint by the Catholic Church in 1925. Now Mother Theresa is on the path toward sainthood as well.
The box containing the bones of Saint Therese left Oklahoma City Tuesday night, bound for New Mexico.