Saint Paul Relics Chapel
One of the largest holdings in the United States, the Relic Collection of the Diocese of Covington is comprised of over 300 Relics. With numerous relics authenticated by Covington’s first bishop, George Aloysius Carrell, S.J., it was Covington’s third bishop, Camillus Paul Maes, who documented the first relic inventory, obtained relics from Europe, and instantiated Relic devotion in the life of the growing Church in Northern Kentucky. Authenticating many of the Relics himself over the course of two decades, Bishop Maes assembled some of the finest and most beautiful relics from the 19th century.
The Relic Shrine of St. Paul, located beneath the Baldacchino of St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, displays a large selection of relics from the Diocesan collection. The heart of the collection are two skull relics taken from the 11,000 companion martyrs of St. Ursula donated by the Shrine in Cologne, Germany, to Bishop Maes in the early 20th century. In the 1950s, Bishop William T. Mulloy, Covington’s sixth bishop, would expand the relic collection further, obtaining dozens of relics from Rome, Italy. Many of the relics encased in small thecas (cases) on view in the St. Paul Relic Shrine came from Covington’s former St. Pius X Seminary. In addition to the relics on view, the Diocese possesses several lipsanothecae (Relic boxes) of first and second class Relics from the time of Bishop Maes. Sealed in paper, each relic will eventually be sealed in new thecae for display and veneration.
In 2018, under the leadership and vision of Bishop Roger J. Foys, tenth bishop of Covington, plans were made for a new altar that would display the vast collection of relics belonging to the Diocese of Covington. Over the course of three years, designs and plans were made and further refined. Fr. Jordan Hainsey, Custos of Holy Relics, helped oversee the concept, design, and construction of the new altar. The altar was dedicated and consecrated by Bishop Foys on 23 August 2021, Feast of Rose of Lima.
The Relic collection contains some of the Church’s newest saints and blesseds, including: Pope St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Bl. Solanus Casey, Bl. Stanley Rother, Bl. Miguel Pro, Bl. Carlo Acutis, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Damien of Molokai, Bl. Franz Jägerstätter, St. Oscar Romero, St. José Sánchez del Río, Bl. Karl of Austria, and St. Conrad of Parzham.