WATCH: Relics of Saints Peter and Paul at Manila Cathedral

MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of Catholics lined up to view the relics of Saints Peter and Paul, considered pillars of the Catholic Church, during a Mass on their feast day at the Manila Cathedral. 

Here is Rappler's 360-degree video of the veneration of the relics of Peter and Paul on Thursday, June 29, during the celebration of "Pope's Day" in Manila. (Drag around the 360-degree video using your cursor or finger, to view the scene from different perspectives.)

The caretaker of these relics is the group Work of the Saints, which displayed these at the Manila Cathedral on Thursday, the feast of Peter and Paul. The veneration of the relics was done after the Pope's Day Mass on Thursday.

In an interview with Rappler, Work of the Saints coordinator Leandro Tesorero described these as first-class relics from the bones of Peter and Paul. Peter is considered the first pope while Paul is known as the great missionary of the early Christian church. (READ: Cardinal Tagle: Be a 'rock' for the abandoned)

Tesorero said the relics came from the Vicariate of Rome, courtesy of priests who knew that his group has "an apostolate that brings around the relics of saints." He noted that it is a Catholic tradition "to extract the bones, the relics of the saints, for altars and churches dedicated in their name, or else for the veneration of the faithful."

Asked about the value of relics like these, Tesorero explained: "It shows us that our faith is alive, that it came from real people, that the Bible is not just a fairy tale but it came from flesh and bones like us. So it means if these saints were able to do it, we can also."

In his homily before the veneration of the relics, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said the Catholic Church should learn to journey "inward" like Peter, and "outward" like Paul. 

David explained that Peter "is the image of one who sank to the very rock bottom." 

The bishop said of Peter: "Having failed so many times, this man must have reached a point when he felt like a miserable failure….He went to the very rock bottom of the journey inward. At the very, very base, stripped of all pretensions, he discovers his truest, purest self that is now ready to answer Christ's invitation to love." 

(Watch David's full homily below)

Of Paul and his missionary approach, David said: "I hear the voice of Paul when I hear Pope Francis saying, 'You know, Christ is knocking at the door not to get in, but to get out of the Church!' When I hear him saying, Christ did not build a Church turned in on itself, concerned only about its 'churchy' affairs." – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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