“It is housed in Rome, and it has travelled a couple of times outside of Rome but it has never been outside of Rome for the feast,” said Jake Ryan, projects and events officer for the Sydney Archdiocese.
“The feast day Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral will be a mammoth event, it will certainly draw everyone together to celebrate the pilgrimage, his feast day and the work that he has done.”
Though Sydney has been fortunate to host visiting relics in previous years, including the body of Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati in 2008, and the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux in 2002, relics are still rare for the Church in Australia.
“The idea of relics is very big in European cultures, and not so much in Australia. But a lot of dioceses are still very interested in the legacy St Francis has through his great missionary work. It’s the very arm that baptised thousands upon thousands of people.”
The relic’s tour was instigated by Bishop Peter Comensoli, auxiliary bishop of Sydney, with the co-operation of the Jesuits.