Four Historical Artifacts Have New Home at St. Clare Catholic Church in Roseville

ROSEVILLE -- Four bricks are considered historical artifacts. Each was taken from four of the Papal basilicas in Rome.

St. Peter in the Vatican, St. Paul outside the Walls of Vatican City, St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran -- all dating back to the time of Constantine.

"To have them here, makes us in a way, connected to the oneness of the universal church. We can say we have a piece of this place in us," said Father George T. Snyder Jr., pastor of St. Clare's Parish.

Father George took the helm as pastor of St. Clare's parish in July. But his work of petitioning the Vatican for these artifacts began more than two years ago -- and getting them isn't easy.

There are hundreds of bricks that have been distributed around the world.

But St. Clare's is the only church in the country to have four of the bricks.

"These are rare, they're no longer available now. They're done," Father George said.

The bricks will be placed in their permanent spot above the church's doors on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Father George says aside from receiving these bricks, he's been blessed many times in the 10 years since joining the priesthood.

"This forehead has been touched by three popes. John Paul II is now a saint. How many times in your life will you have a picture with someone who is now a saint?" Father George said.

Father George was sitting in the front row when John Paul was canonized.

"He told me, 'Be holy and have courage.' My family tells me 'you're a second-class relic 'cause he touched your forehead.' Don't take a shower, they said," he said.

He and his mother have also met with Pope Francis.

"I introduced myself to the Holy Father. He blessed me. I told him I'm from Sacramento. He doesn't know where Sacramento is," Father George said.

"'Can I give you a big hug?' 'Yeah.' And he gave me a big hug. I hugged him and I kissed him. And he said be good, and you have to work hard," he added.

And working hard is exactly what his parishioners say he does.