Beaumont Basilica home to second sacred saint relic

A reception was held at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica Thursday to welcome the zucchetto, or skull cap, that belonged to Pope John XXIII.

It is the second relic of its kind to be housed there; Pope John Paul II's zucchetto is also on display at the Basilica. Monsignor Michael Jamail said it is extremely rare for a cathedral to house two relics of two soon-to-be saints.

Both John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized and proclaimed saints on April 27.

The cap of John XXIII was given to Monsignor Jamail by his best friend in seminary school, whose uncle worked for The Vatican in the early sixties.  Monsignor Jamail said it brings back fond memories of when the Pope was chosen.

"One of our classmates had a transistor radio and he was listening to the news during lecture for theology," he said. "The next thing we knew he was whispering Roncalli, Roncalli... when the teacher asked what was happening we shouted: Habemus Papam! We have a pope!"

Monsignor Jamail gave the cap to a monastery of cloistered Carmelite nuns in Lafayette, La. for safekeeping nearly 50 years ago, but he says he's happy to have it home.

"It's a very satisfying feeling," he said, "with these sorts of things you never know what's going to happen in the future and I know it will be protected and a source of inspiration for Catholics in this area."

Pope John XVIII was known for holding The Second Vatican Counsel during the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis. Pope John Paul II is most famous for being an advocate of human rights.


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