Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Cordoba, Spain thanked Pope Benedict for proclaiming St. John of Avila a Doctor of the Church, and presented the pontiff with a relic of the holy priest.
According to the Diocese of Cordoba, Bishop Fernandez voiced his gratitude to the Pope after the Oct. 10 general audience, accompanied by the rector of the Pontifical Basilica of St. John of Avila, Father Jose Aldemina.
The gift consisted of gold-plated pectoral cross made by Spanish artisans which contained a relic of the 16th century saint.
When asked about St. John of Avila's relevance for Catholics today, Bishop Fernandez told EWTN News: “I think the essential thing is that each Christian has a true encounter with Jesus Christ.”
“The Pope has called us to the Year of Faith, which above all consists of conversion and drawing close to Jesus Christ; everything else comes from that,” he said.
“Through St. John of Avila, what we have to pray for is to truly know Jesus Christ, just as the saint says: 'May everyone know that God is love.' And everything else comes by knowing this,” the bishop said.