A relic of St. John Paul II will begin a tour of the U.S. in Boston on Saturday, giving the Catholic faithful in several major cities the chance to venerate one of the Church's newest saints.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston said St. John Paul II "meant so much to the people of the Archdiocese of Boston and around the world, enlivening in them the presence of God's grace and love."

The relic, a vial of St. John Paul II's blood, will be displayed for veneration at Boston's Holy Cross Cathedral June 21 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., and after the 4:30 p.m. anticipated Mass.

On June 22, veneration of the relic will take place after the 11:30 a.m. Mass said by Cardinal O'Malley.

"We pray that those who come to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross this weekend will be inspired to carry out great works of mercy through evangelization as the Holy Father exemplified during his years as Pope and priest," Cardinal O'Malley said June 17.

Boston was the first U.S. city in which St. John Paul II said Mass – during his October, 1979 visit at Boston Common, with 400,000 persons in attendence.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow gave the relic to the Knights of Columbus for the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., which is co-sponsoring the tour along with the Knights.

"We are grateful to the Knights of Columbus and Saint John Paul II National Shrine for making it possible for people of faith to pray before the relic of Saint John Paul II," said Cardinal O'Malley. "He meant so much to the people of the Archdiocese of Boston and around the world ,enlivening in them the presence of God's grace and love."

The relic tour will include a July 12-13 visit to New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral and a July 19-20 visit to Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The tour will end in Baltimore at a date to be determined.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson noted St. John Paul II's frequent visits to the U.S.

"St. John Paul spent more time in the United States than any other Pope before or since, shaping an entire generation of Catholics here and throughout the world," Anderson said.

"Bringing his relic to communities throughout this country will recall for many Catholics his saintly life, his unswerving commitment to the dignity of every human person, and his emphasis on the call to holiness for each one of us."