A relic dating back to 430 A.D. is not something that is easy to obtain.
When the Diocese of Laoag received a first class relic of St. Augustine of Hippo on Sept. 15, it was considered a blessing to the local Church.
“These sacred relics will certainly remind us of our ‘Augustinian Roots,’” Bishop Renato Mayugba said.
He said the relic will be enshrined in a parish church dedicated to St. Augustine in Paoay town.
Along with St. Augustine’s is another first class relic of St. Nicholas of Tolentino which will be placed at a newly declared diocesan shrine.
The relics were extracted “ex ossibus (from the bones)” of the saints.
The bones of St. Augustine are reposed in a sarcophagus at Pavia, Italy, while the bones of St. Nicholas rest in his basilica in Tolentino, also in Italy.
The Augustinian Friars from the older “Provincia del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús,” now based in Spain were responsible for the evangelization of the Ilocos in the 1570s.
The Augustinians are credited to be the founders of the old Ilocos towns including the construction of now world-renowned churches of Paoay and Santa María.
One of the churches they also built is already a minor basilica, the church in Badoc town.
“We have received the faith through the many zealous and holy Augustinians who planted the faith in this land some 500 years ago,” Bishop Mayugba said.
As the Church will celebrate the 5th centenary of the country’s Christianization next year, the prelate requested relics of the two saints from the Order of St. Augustine in Rome through the Augustinian Province of the Santo Niño de Cebú.
The relics, he said, shows a “revival of the great mission of the Augustinians in the province”.