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Vial of blood from St. John Paul II is coming to Boston

A relic containing the blood of John Paul II.

Alessandro Bianchi /REUTERS

A relic containing the blood of John Paul II.

Alessandro Bianchi/REUTERS

A relic of St. John Paul II will make its first stop in Boston this weekend, marking the official start to the holy object’s national tour.

A vial of the late pope’s blood will be available for public veneration at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday. It will be available again following the 4:30 p.m. vigil.

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In addition, it will be available following the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, which will be celebrated by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, said Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, in a statement.

“We pray that those who come to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross this weekend will be inspired to carry out great works of mercy through evangelization as the Holy Father exemplified during his years as Pope and priest,” O’Malley said in the statement.

The national tour is being sponsored by the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., and the Knights of Columbus.

The relic will visit other United States cities including New York and Philadelphia before returning to Washington, D.C.

St. John Paul II spent more time in the US than any other pope, according to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, of the Knights of Columbus.

“Bringing his relic to communities throughout this country will recall for many Catholics his saintly life, his unswerving commitment to the dignity of every human person, and his emphasis on the call to holiness for each one of us,” Anderson said in the statement.

The tour begins in Boston because it was the first US city that John Paul II said Mass in, as pope, in 1979, according to the statement.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp.
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