The feast day, in which we venerate the Cross of Christ as a measure of his love for us, and the mark of his - and our own - victory over death, is a particularly important once for us at Westminster. We own four major relics of the True Cross; those depicted above and below are used for veneration after all Masses today.
It was the will of Cardinal Vaughan our founder, that Westminster Cathedral should not merely be a sign of the Catholic faith in our capital city, but that it should also bring blessings upon its citizens. Our fourth relic of the true cross is, therefore, situated at the base of the cross atop the campanile so that, as the Cardinal desired, it might bring a blessing upon the great city.
I am often asked (and have already been asked this morning) whether I really believe that these can be relics of the True Cross. I feel it is quite likely, given the human instinct to collect and venerate items associated with loved ones, or with great events. Safeguarding the Cross, even dividing it into fragments so that the followers of Christ might have some tangible association with Our Lord and his sacrifice, is a very human thing to do, and very understandable. I therefore treasure these precious relics, which not only bring our Saviour's sacrifice to mind, but also provide a privileged physical link with his saving death.