On Monday 9th July the builder renovating the Sawtell Parish Church noticed a slab of marble decorated with crosses amongst the rubble and thought it would be a good idea to have a closer look.
Upon examination, the slab proved to be an altar stone. In permanent altars situated in Catholic churches there is a repository containing relics of Saints. These are usually things closely associated with a person who has lead a saintly life which has been publicly acknowledged by the church.
In this case, the marble altar stone contains the relics of two saints. The first is St Columba, an Irish Saint who ended up living on the island of Iona, between Ireland and Scotland, who died in 597. The second is a relic of Saint Martial, the bishop of Limoges in what was Roman Gaul (now France), who died in the 3rd century.
The Latin inscriptions on the envelopes containing the relics, authenticated by Bishop Farrelly in October 1937 state: ex ossibus (of the bone) S.Martialus M; and ex ossibus S. Columbae M. Some important history both local and archaeological preserved, thanks to ‘Frank!’