Fr. Carlos Martins travels around the world to bring holy relics to the faithful. He believes the stories of the saints encourage people to strive for holiness in their own lives. Photo courtesy of Treasures of the Church

Travelling holy relics pave path to God

  • August 11, 2017

Fr. Carlos Martins has seen it all.

For the past 20 years he has taken a collection of more than 200 holy relics around the world to parishes, schools and even prisons. Afterwards, he often hears reports of spiritual and sometimes, physical healing.

At a recent exposition in Houston, Tex., Martins encountered a man who was born paralyzed.

“He spent all of his 55 years in a wheelchair,” said the priest. “He wheeled himself over to one of the reliquaries and he placed his hand on top of it. He got up out of his wheelchair and he walked home.”

That same week, Martins took the relics to a school where he met a nine-year-old girl who had a cancerous tumour about five inches in diameter in her abdomen. She held each reliqueary in her hands and prayed with them.

At first, she didn’t notice anything. But after getting into the backseat of her parents’ car “there was no tumour. Her cancer was healed completely and instantly and imperceptibly,” Martins said.

Martins, a Companions of the Cross priest based in Toronto, always begins his Treasures of the Church presentation with a guarantee. If a person is open to an encounter with the holy relics from various saints, they will experience the living God. It’s a bold promise, but one he fervently believes.

He has heard hundreds of healing stories in his travels across North and South America, parts of Europe and the Middle East. He plans to visit Asia next year for the first time.

Every day, he receives mail with testimonies, pictures and even medical records of miraculous healings. Treasures of the Church has touched countless lives through the intercession of the saints, he said.

Although physical healings attract most of the attention, the vast majority of healings are spiritual, he said. He much prefers those stories.

“If I had to pick a favourite, I would choose spiritual healing over physical healing,” Martins told The Catholic Register. “Because you can go to Heaven with cancer on your leg, but you can’t go to Heaven with unforgiveness in your heart.”

Before people venerate the saints’ relics, Martins gives an hour-long catechesis on true and proper devotion. Relics are venerated as temples of the Holy Spirit, but everything starts with Scripture.

The Bible, Martins said, is littered with evidence of God healing through material objects, from the story of a man healed by touching Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21) to the woman that touched Jesus’ cloak (Matthew 9:20-22).

Saints are God’s masterpieces, said Martins, and being able to pray for their intercession is a powerful gift from God to encourage us to strive for holiness.

Martins believes it is a tragedy to leave this world without becoming a saint. His ministry reminds people there is a communion of saints from which to draw strength.

“I feel like, in a very real way, I’m working with the saints, alongside them,” said Martins. “I feel we’re all cooperating with one another to accomplish a mission.”

Hosting the Treasures of the Church exposition of relics at a parish, school, prison or community centre has no cost. The ministry runs solely on donations.

Martins covers the expenses because he believes financial concerns shouldn’t deprive poor communities from encountering God’s graces through the relics.

For more information about this ministry, visit

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