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Faithful flock to Pittsburgh chapel to see religious relics

Posted: Friday, July 09, 2004

PITTSBURGH (AP) Administrators at a 124-year-old chapel in the city's Troy Hill neighborhood say its collection of relics is the largest outside the Vatican, with more than 5,000 items that devotees believe date back to Jesus, Mary, all 12 apostles and numerous other saints.

For instance, gold reliquaries at St. Anthony's Chapel contain 22 slivers that are claimed to come from the cross on which Jesus was crucified and two small pieces purportedly from the table at the Last Supper, as well as two thorns from Jesus' crown of thorns and a slice of Mary's veil.

People have been flocking to the chapel for years in search of miracles, inner peace and history. Some believe they have been healed of cancer, said Sister Margaret Liam Glenane, tour guide and assistant director.

Glenane said she or the pastor, the Rev. David Schorr, will say healing prayers for visitors and allow them to touch relics to areas that need healing.

The relics were amassed by the Rev. Suitbert G. Mollinger, an independently wealthy priest from the Belgian aristocracy who began serving at a nearby church in 1868. He had the chapel built in 1880 to display the relics.

Michael Lorenz, a visitor from Reno, Nev., suffering from diabetes and glaucoma, said ''if I do nothing else in life worthwhile, this is enough. Nothing's going to beat this.''



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