Chuck Bloch writes:
“The devotion to relics is certainly a strange and interesting part of the faith. Recently, I read a book about the foreskin of Christ; about a half-dozen churches in Europe lay claim to having at least some part of it. Many have pieces of St. Theresa of Avila; yet when we were in Avila entire sections of her body were on display so there is a lot more to go around. I’m Catholic and my wife is Methodist. She just shakes her head.
“As to the Annunciation relics – the are sealed at each of the altars (main, St. Joseph and Mary). The marble slabs are from Carrara, Italy, and the inserts are clearly visible. If I ever knew who they were, I have forgotten. When the church was first built, all of the altar boys (I was one) were ordered out each month to scrub and dry the marble. It was a Saturday chore you could not escape.”
Originally I intended the relics as a Fitz’s Stockton. But the story took on a larger dimension when it became clear how far the Roman Catholic Church — or, at least, the Diocese of Stockton — has drifted from this tradition.