Relics are holy objects that are venerated by the Church. This is not to be confused with worship. We worship God alone, but we recognize certain objects in a way that inspires us. In sacred Scripture, we read that miracles often were performed using physical objects.
So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.(Acts 19:11–12)
Catholicism is an “incarnational” religion, meaning that the physical and spiritual are connected.
Relics are classified in three ways:
First class: A part of a saint’s body such as a bone (or a bone fragment), hair, nails. Also, the instruments of Christ’s passion.
Second class: An object directly belonging to a saint or the object of torture used against a martyr.
Third class: Anything touched to a first-, second-, or third-class relic. The Code of Canon Law, paragraph 1190, speaks to the specific treatment of relics. It forbids the buying and selling of relics; however, in some cases donations to cover costs are allowed.