Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Return of the True Cross

About a month ago I posted about a relic of the True Cross that was stolen from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, MA. The relic has been found and returned to the church. According to the article, in summary:
Vermont State Police stumbled upon it after receiving a call from Richard Duncan....
Duncan told police he was having an argument over the phone with his partner, 34-year-old Earl Frost. ...Frost said he wanted to return it to a church, the police statement said. But troopers convinced him to bring it into the state police barracks in Royalton.
The Vermont troopers knew nothing of the Boston relic's disappearance, but they did a Google search while Frost and Duncan were on their way to the barracks and found several articles related to the theft.
At the barracks, Frost turned the relic over to the police and said that he had acquired it from an unidentified person in Rhode Island. 
You can read about the history of the True Cross in my earlier post, but the new article outlines the history of the relic in Boston.
The relic arrived in Boston in the late 18th century, a gift to a French missionary priest, the Rev. Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus, who later became the first bishop of Boston.
The relic was given to Cheverus by Abbe Claude de la Poterie, the first pastor of the cathedral, who was also a French priest, as well as a onetime chaplain in the French Navy.
De la Poterie celebrated the first public Mass in Boston on Nov. 2, 1788.
Boston’s first Catholic church, completed on Franklin Street in 1803, was named the Church of the Holy Cross.
The church was designated a cathedral in 1808, when the Diocese of Boston was established; the current cathedral, on Washington Street in the South End, was completed in 1875.
The north transept window at the cathedral depicts the legendary discovery of the cross by Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine. In the scene, a dead woman is restored to life after the cross is laid upon her.
The south transept window depicts another story associated with the cross: return of the relic to Jerusalem by a Byzantine emperor after it was stolen by the Persian army in the seventh century.
 Deo gratius!


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