Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Youth Minister Sees Beyond the Years

James Day, a Master in Fine Arts and Youth Minister at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles has written for Catholic World Report a personal commentary on how he has been inspired by recent popes and his own father, seeing in them a reflection of the Holy Face of God. "Holy Fathers, Holy Faces"


He concludes his heartfelt piece with these words.
In reading Benedict, I became accustomed to his frequent references to the Holy Face of God. “Rely on the mighty Lord,” implores Psalm 105, “constantly seek his face.” So I was pleasantly surprised to read in Francis’ Urbi et Orbi message for Christmas 2013: “Today, I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God.” It is my hope, too. That even in the dying face of one’s father one can see the face of God: obedience even in the face of death.

I marveled when I looked into this devotion to the Holy Face. I found it to be a reference to the Veil at Manoppello in the Abruzzi Region of Italy. It is said to be the “napkin” mentioned in John 20:7, which covered the head of Jesus at his burial and upon which is a vivid, startling impression of a man’s bruised face with open eyes, as if he has just awakened, startled, new life having been breathed into him. The peaceful gaze of the incarnated Agnus Dei. The Face of God, then, is not one of an agonized death, but of resurrected life. Paul Badde’s The Face of God, chronicling the incredible story of this veil, would have certainly been one to share with my father.

“‘Your face, O Lord, I seek’: seeking the Face of Jesus must be the longing of all of us Christians; indeed, we are ‘the generation’ which seeks his Face in our day,” Benedict said in his address at Manoppello on September 1, 2006. Two weeks after returning from this visit, he raised the tiny chapel housing the veil to a basilica.

I pray that my own life and death be as dignified and humble as those of the holy fathers I have written about. I certainly would not have glimpsed the divine face without them.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Official Process for the Beatification of Padre Domenico da Cese Has Begun

From the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello
Il Volto Santo di Manoppello
December 2013
By Antonio Bini

The official diocesan process has begun for the cause of beatification of Padre Domenico da Cese, Capuchin. The news, which was especially welcome to the numerous faithful who knew Padre Domenico, was communicated by the Archbishop Bruno Forte in the Cathedral of San Guistino in Chieti during the solemn Mass in honor of "Mary, Mother of the Theatine People" (translators note: Theatine is an ancient name for the people of Chieti) It was later formalized by the Presbyteral Council held in Chieti on October 17, 2013.

His Excellency Monsignor Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto

With the launch of the process, Archbishop Forte was responding to the request made by the Capuchin Order, through its Postulator General, Father Carlo Calloni, who had made use of the preparatory work undertaken in the preceding months by Father Eugenio di Giamberardino. It is the responsibility of the postulator to gather documents and direct testimony in order to reconstruct the life and the sanctity of their brother, with the objective of verifying the heroic nature of his virtues. In the case of Padre Domenico extraordinary acts have often been attributed to him that must be documented in an objective way according to the the prescriptions of canon law.

Padre Domenico - whose given name was Emidio Petracca - was born at Cese, a part of the commune of Avezzano (L'Aquila), on March 27, 1905 - and from 1965 was part of the community of friars at the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello, of which he was the tireless promoter.

Padre Domenico at the Exhibit on the Holy Face in Pescara

Owing to his tenacity an exhibit on the Holy Face was organized by the Shrine in September of 1977 at Pescara for the National Eucharistic Congress which culminated in the arrival of Pope Paul VI. The exhibit, which was excluded from the official program, was visited by chance by a journalist who told of this unique image in a Swiss catholic, german language periodical, creating the foundation for a new phase in the knowledge of the Holy Face beyond the regional and national confines, which later helped to bring about the very visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Manoppello.

The following September of 1978 Padre Domenico went on pilgrimage to Turin in order to visit the Shroud during its extraordinary exhibition. After visiting the Cathedral he was struck by an automobile suffering very severe injuries. While being cared for at a hospital he died on September 17, 1978.

Such circumstances required, in conformity with canon law, that the postulator general should first obtain the "nulla osta" from the Diocese of Turin, in compliance with the regulations of canon law.

For very many devoted souls Padre Domenico has been their "magnetic pole" of faith, because of his extraordinary capacity to listen and read the souls of so many suffering persons who daily turned to him with hope. Padre Domenico urged them to pray always to the "Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ" as he often would inscribe to persons who turned to Him from Italy and abroad to obtain a word of consolation and hope.

one of the many notes sent by Fr. Domenico each day to those asking for his spiritual help

And there are still so many persons who come to Manoppello in his memory and who pray to him at his tomb, in the little cemetery of his native place of Cese. Despite the years which have passed since his death, the appeal and the interest for the figure of Padre Domenico has increased with gatherings of devotees, articles, books and public events, among which we remember the initiative of the Commune of Avezzano which in honor of their native son named a street in their community after the Capuchin. We remember also the particular devotion which exists in Ruvo di Puglia and in Andria, linked to Sister Amalia di Rella, for whom Padre Domenico was a spiritual father, from which many pilgrimages to our shrine originate. For many his life seems inseparable from the Holy Face, so that he is also known as Padre Domenico of the Holy Face.

At this time it seems fit to remember the tenacious activity undertaken by Brother Vincenzo d'Elpidio and by Padre Domenico's niece Caterina and his other relatives.

The news of the initiative to launch the process for the beatification of Padre Domenico is a reason for joy for the entire Capuchin community, which will continue to be involved in the long and complex path which has begun, along with the desired active participation of the faithful.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Conference on Padre Domenico da Cese

from the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello
Il Volto Santo di Manoppello
December 2013
Conference on Padre Domenico da Cese, Capuchin

Theme: The Teachings of Padre Domenico 35 years after his death

Held in Cese di Avezzano (province of L'Aquila)
Sunday December 15 2013
Church of Santa Maria

2pm Greeting of the Pastor Don Jose' Anselmo Martinez Mosquera
Messages from:
His Excellency Monsignor Pietro Santoro, Bishop of the Marsica
His Excellency Monsignor Emidio Cipollone, Archbishop of Lanciano-Ortona,
citizen of Cese
Address by Father Guglielmo Alimonti, OFM, Cap.

also participating

Monsignor Claudio di Liberato, Diocesan Postulator for the cause of beatification of Padre Domenico

Father Eugenio Di Giamberardino, Provincial Postulator for the Capuchin Friars Minor of Abruzzo

Professor Antonio Masci, Deacon of the Diocese of Avezzano

4:30pm Eucharistic Concelebration

Friday, February 21, 2014

His Gaze Heals Us

by Fr. Daren J. Zehnle, K.H.S.
from his blog "Servant and Steward" http://dzehnle.blogspot.it/2014/02/his-gaze-heals-us.html

February 16, 2014

"The eyes of God are on those who fear him," a sage of Israel today reminds us, and "he understands man's every deed" (Sirach 15:19). Having seen the eyes of God in the image of the Holy Face enshrined at Manoppello, this verse has taken on a great depth of meaning.

Most regrettably, the fear of the Lord has been, if you will, watered down in recent decades and all but written off as unnecessary or even unwarranted. But, since "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom," this cannot be true (Psalm 111:10).

No, possessing a fear of the Lord is good, holy, and proper, but an authentic fear of the Lord does not lead to grovelling or cringing before the Lord who looks upon us with compassion (cf. Matthew 9:36; Mark 10:21; Luke 10:33). Because he knows our deeds, he looks upon us with compassion. As the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us: "For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every way has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Speaking to our concerns about our need for a correct understanding of the fear of the Lord - of which the Sacred Scriptures so frequently speak - His Holiness Benedict XVI once noted:
Perhaps this is a phrase with which we are not very familiar or do not like very much. But "fear of God" is not anguish; it is something quite different. As children, we are not anxious about the Father but we have fear of God, the concern not to destroy the love on which our life is based.
Fear of God is that sense of responsibility that we are bound to possess, responsibility for the portion of the world that has been entrusted to us in our lives. It is responsibility for the good administration of this portion of the world and of history, and one thus helps the just building of the world, contributing to the victory of goodness and peace.
None of us wants to waste our lives or to disappoint those who love us and whom we also love. We might well say if we have the fear of disappointing him who died for us we have the fear of the Lord, a fear based not on grovelling but on love. Because he knows our deeds and looks on us with love and compassion, we feel all the more intently, when we look into his eyes, our lack of love of him and of our neighbor.

When we consider his eyes or his face, how can we not remember the look he gave to Simon Peter (cf. Luke 22:61-62)? What did Peter see in those eyes? He saw what everyone sees who fears the Lord, what Benedict XVI described in his encyclical Spe salvi:
The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy.

Looking upon the veil that once covered the face of the Crucified Lord and was found in the empty tomb, one sense this moment, this encounter, has begun. On that veil it is possible to look upon his face, to gaze into his eyes, the eyes of the Living Lord. In that gaze is love, mercy, and understanding.

photos by Paul Badde

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pope Benedict, Peter the Rock and the Holy Face

The Departure of a Revolutionary
By Paul Badde
Published in Le Figaro, Paris, February 11, 2014


At the end of his pontificate, Benedict XVI had his Fisherman’s Ring destroyed, as is the practice after the death of a Pope. On the other hand, he did not give up his name. He did not become Jozef Ratzinger again, as did Celestine V who, on December 13, 1294 after a few months in his office as Pope, resumed his former name, Pietro del Morrone. That is why, since February 11, 2013, the pontificate is no longer what it was. It will remain, however, the foundation of the Catholic Church. Now it is this base that Benedict XVI has effectively modified and he has done it as a sovereign just as Charles V did when, on October 25, 1555, in Brussels he laid down the most powerful imperial crown in the world. One should not have been astonished, then, to see a lightning flash strike the dome of St Peter’s on the night of February 11, 2013. Benedict XVI stepped back, a revolutionary.

He was the first to succeed the Apostle Peter in the new millennium. A multitude of challenges awaited him. He faced them as a passionate guardian of the deposit of faith seen in its totality. But this great conservative considered his latest responsibility in a more sober and modern manner than nearly all his predecessors. In his capacity as a theologian, he knew how weak Simon, to whom Jesus had given the name Peter, the Rock, was in reality. Yet the Rock remains the Rock. When Benedict XVI recognised that he was beginning to crumble, he gave up his responsibility so that, considering there were superhuman tasks to accomplish, he could make way for a successor who would also be as solid as the Rock. He did so in his role as “Pontifex Maximus” (supreme builder of bridges) between different worlds that had drifted away from each other. As he declared in Latin at Rome on that February 11, his strength was no longer sufficient “to exercise the Petrine ministry in an adequate manner”.

The key words in this declaration in Latin are the expression “munus petrinum”. The Latin term “munus” has a number of meanings. It can mean simply “ministry” as well as “gift”, “duty”, “direction”, “victim”, but also “wonder”. But Benedict understands it most of all, before as much as after his resignation, as “Petrine ministry”. This ministry of service he has therefore not abandoned by his step of February 11, 2013.

To the very personal Petrine office he has added a collegial dimension, as if it were a question of a common ministry. Since that day, there are not two Popes, but one enlarged and somehow more powerful pontificate. That is why he has not given up either his white cassock or his name. That is why he has not withdrawn, as the emperor Charles V did, to a monastery in far-off Spain. He has taken the opposite direction, choosing a step deeper into the heart of the Vatican - as if he was simply moving aside to give room to his successor and to allow for a new stage in the history of the papacy, which he has enriched by this step with a power-station of prayer and good counsel. . . in the gardens of the Vatican. He has not taken flight from the Petrine responsibility. He has rather strengthened its power. And that is what will remain.

And yet: in a hundred years, who will still be reading the books he succeeded in publishing during his pontificate, in a nearly Herculaneum effort? No one knows. There will certainly still be “read” a document which he himself did not publish, but which he has revealed by taking a just as significant as inconspicuous step. This document is not another book for our library but a unique iconographic document.
It is the image of Christ “not made by human hands”, which has borne many names in the course of the centuries. It has been known as the “sudarium”, the “true Face” or “the veil of St Veronica”. From 706 to 1527 it was kept in St Peter’s Basilica and was venerated in the Byzantine empire under the name of the “Mandylion” or the “image of Edessa”. It is an extremely fine and delicate object because the image is on a veil of sea silk (or “byssus”, a fibre obtained from mussels). This precious cloth disappeared from St Peter’s Basilica during the Sack of Rome in 1527 and was probably kept for safety on an isolated hill in Abruzzo by Ferdinando de Alarcon, the Spanish commander of the Castel Sant’Angelo.

For a long time it was thought to have disappeared. It even entered into the category of a legend so that it took a platonist intellectual like Benedict XVI to take really seriously the message conveyed by this original “not-man-made” image of the Lord. Four hundred and seventynine years after its disappearance from Rome, he was the first Pope who dared kneel before this cloth on which appears the Face of Christ. This he did on September 1, 2006, at Manoppello (200km east of Rome) where the cloth is permanently kept.

Since that day, the “human Face of God” has become the seal of his pontificate. In his sermon on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2013, he referred to it 16 times. And over 25 times during his second last general audience! This is THE testament of Benedict XVI: God became man and we have an image of the face of the invisible God. It is the “unique selling point”, it is the distinguishing mark of Christianity, which Benedict has brought back into history. He has rediscovered this original visual “text” as a cosmic “memory chip” for the future - which continues to proclaim, as no other document, the Resurrection of Christ from among the dead and until the end of time.

(Translated by Paul MacLeod, Geelong, Australia.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Wider View of the Holy Face -- from the Land of Lincoln to the Coastlands and Mountains of Italy

In the past week Fr. Daren J. Zehnle, K.H.S., a priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois studying canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, wrote about his recent visit to the Shrine of the Holy Face. His articles include a number of beautiful photographs of the Holy Face. Father Zehnle is a prolific blogger whose several sites are inspirational. Here are the links to his postings on the Holy Face.

Servant and Steward: I have looked upon the eyes of Love

Servant and Steward: The face of Jesus

Quoting Fr. Zehnle

"If you come to Rome, you simply must plan to take a half a day and visit the shrine at Manoppello; I promise you will not regret it."

"In the end, all I can find to describe what I experienced and saw is simply this: I have looked upon the eyes of Love, and I long for the day when "his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:3-5)."

Friday, February 7, 2014

Confirmation Day, St. Ignatius Church

photo by Paul Badde

O Light eternal, Light Divine
Grant us charity of mind

O Fire within that blazes still
Grant us charity of will

O Wind that steers the stars above
Grant us memory of Love

O you who bore the Three in One
Turn these poor bones into your Son