Former atheist promises encounter with God through saints’ relics
“I was raised in a very nominally Catholic family. We didn’t go to church,” the 37-year-old priest told CNA on March 27. “The Catholic school that we went to was ‘Catholic’ in name only.”
“By the time I became an adult, aside from being a ‘practical atheist,’ I became an intellectual one as well. I thought it was impossible for God to exist, given the state of the world.”
During his university years, some “very committed Catholics” made him question his atheism – leading to a profound encounter with Christ in Eucharistic adoration.
Sixteen years and one priestly ordination later, Fr. Martins helps others encounter God, through another traditional Catholic practice: the exposition and veneration of sacred relics.
He leads the Treasures of the Church ministry, which brings thousands of relics by request to locations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Its collection includes relics of St. Maria Goretti, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Faustina Kowalska.
Fr. Martins spoke with CNA during his March 25-April 1 tour of Colorado. After a 60-minute presentation explaining the veneration of relics, attendees can spend time in prayer with a selection that includes a large piece of Christ’s cross, and fabric from the Virgin Mary’s veil.
As his presentation makes clear, the experience is unlike anything that most attendees have experienced before.
“I do not have a ‘traveling museum,’” he explained. “What I have, is a ministry of evangelization and healing.”
Fr. Martins refers to the period of veneration, following his introduction to the practice, as the “walk with the saints.” During this time, he promises that those with an open heart will experience God – and the supernatural reality known as the “communion of the saints” – in a new and profound way. [More]