BISMARCK, ND — “I was raised in a very nominally Catholic family,” Fr. Carlos Martins told the Catholic News Agency. “The Catholic school that we went to was ‘Catholic’ in name only. By the time I became an adult, aside from being a ‘practical atheist,’ I became an intellectual one as well. I thought it was impossible for God to exist, given the state of the world.”

Fr. Martins has gone from an atheist to now a priest, helping others encounter God through an exposition and veneration of sacred relics. He evangelizes God’s presence through a collection of approximately 150 relics, including those of St. Maria Goretti, St. Theresa of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Faustina Kowalska.

Fr. Carlos Martins brings his Treasures of the Cross exposition to the University of Mary Thursday, July 11, 2019, 7 p.m., inside the Starion Bank Living Room on the lower level of the new Lumen Vitae University Center on campus. This event is free and open to the public.

“I do not have a ‘traveling museum,’” he explained to CNA. “What I have, is a ministry of evangelization and healing.”

Fr. Martins begins each exposition with a presentation and teaching on the relics that provides the catechetical and spiritual basis for the Walk with the Saints that follows the presentation. Among Fr. Martins pieces is one of the largest certified relics of the True Cross in the world and a piece of the Veil of Our Lady.

“The point of the teaching is nothing other than to present the basic Gospel message of Jesus Christ: that God is here right now and wants to be encountered; He touches us through the lives and the sacred remains of His Saints,” Martins added. “God never disappoints … He always shows up. There are healings at every exposition. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, have been reported to me. Spectacular ones.”

He adds, though a great number of miracles are physical, the most spectacular are the healing of faith where a new deeper relationship with God and His saints are formed in the faithful.

“You can go to heaven with cancer in your limb. You can go to heaven with a bad heart condition,” Fr. Martins told CNA. “But you can’t go to heaven with a heart that has shut God out. You can’t go to heaven with unforgiveness in your heart. You can’t go to heaven by refusing to participate in the sacraments and live your Catholic identity. You just can’t. If I’ve managed to help God penetrate the human heart, that invigorates and exhilarates me.”