Utica's Saint Marianne to be enshrined with trek to Hawaii, museum in Syracuse

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - One of only 12 North American saints in the Roman Catholic faith grew up in west Utica. 
"OUR Utica saint. This is the message that we're trying to get out to everyone. The rarity of having a saint, let alone one who walked our streets," says Saint Marianne Cope Project Coordinator Ellen Benton.  
Saint Marianne's remains will make the trek from the shrine and museum in Syracuse to Hawaii this summer, according to strict protocols outlined in a letter, written in Latin, received from the Vatican. But a first-class relic, a part of the saint's remains, will stay on display in the Utica church where she worshipped as a child and young adult in her early 20s; St. Joseph St. Patrick Church. 
"It certainly will bring more people to learn where she worshipped, the influences she had during her mission work in this area and things like that so there's a lot of interest that goes along with it and people to make devotional trips," says Oneida County Tourism President Kelly Blazosky.
While the priority for the faithful is the opportunity to honor their beloved saint, there are also fringe, financial benefits to the community.
"It's the idea to have devotional tours through central New York," says Benton. 
Devotional tours are a multi-million dollar industry. Currently, there are talks among Saint Marianne's most loyal supporters, elected leaders and toursim officials, aimed at how to let people know that Utica offers an intimate glimpse into the life of their beloved saint.
"We are working with multiple counties that have significant religious and devotional sights even outside the Catholic religion," says Blazosky.  The plan is to create a 'trail', so to speak, with multiple, and multi-denominational, stops throughout central New York.
In addition, more immediate festivities are planned, including a street festival/block party Augst 10 to commemorate Saint Marianne's death.

The new shrine and museum to her will open July 8 in Syracuse. That city, too, will have a first-class relic of Saint Marianne.  

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