Friday, July 25, 2008

What St. Paul Saw, after the Other Apostles, is Revealed to All in Our Time

St. Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, is also the apostle of the resurrection.

Despite every form of persecution directed against him, he continued to preach the resurrection to Jew and Gentile alike. "With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day" (Acts 24:21)

In addition to having had the the risen Christ appear to him on the road to Damascus, I think it almost certain that St. Paul also had the experience of seeing the cloth of marine byssus which this day is present in Manoppello, and likely from the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.

I also think that seeing the multiple, amazing and dazzling images of Christ on this cloth had a profound influence on St. Paul's magnificent teaching on the Church as the Body of Christ and made the resurrection of Christ, as well as our future resurrection, an ever present reality to his mind and spirit.

From the letter of St. Paul to the Romans, chapter 6, verses 3 to 11

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Thanks to my friend Paul Badde, the most generous German journalist and author, for allowing me to post these photographs. May his patron St. Paul continue to intercede so that the Holy Spirit might give him a full measure of wisdom and strength to continue his service to the faith.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Face of World Youth Day

As the youth of the world gather in Sydney, Australia together with Pope Benedict XVI and many Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Religious it seems that the world is becoming more united, more open to Jesus Christ. May this august gathering, and its associated assemblies, flourish and transform the hearts of many nations, to "throw open wide the doors to Jesus Christ" in the immortal words of Pope John Paul II. What follows is the special Prayer to Recognize the Face of Jesus which was composed by Pope Benedict XVI on September 1, 2007 the first anniversary of the Pope's own visit to the Holy Face of Manoppello.

Lord Jesus as the first apostles whom you asked, "What do you seek?", accepted your invitation to "Come and see", recognizing you as the Son of God, the promised Messiah for the world's redemption, we too, your disciples in this difficult time, want to follow you and be your friends, drawn by the brilliance of your Face, much desired yet hidden. Show us we pray you your Face ever new, that mirror, mystery laden, of God's infinite mercy. Grant that we may contemplate it with the eyes of our minds and hearts, the Son's face, radiance of the Father's glory and the imprint of his Nature, the human face of God that has burst into history to reveal the horizons of eternity. The silent Face of Jesus suffering and risen, when loved and accepted changes the heart and life. "Your Face, Lord, do I seek, do not hide your face from me". How many times through the centuries and millenia has not resounded the ardent invocation of the Psalmist among the faithful! Lord, with faith we too repeat the same invocation: "Man of suffering, as one from whom others hide their faces", Do not hide your Face from us! We want to draw from your eyes, that look upon us with tenderness and compassion, the force of love and peace which shows us the way of life and the courage to follow you without fear or compromise so as to be witnesses of your Gospel with concrete signs of acceptance, love and foregiveness. O Holy Face of Christ, Light that enlightens the darkness of doubt and sadness, Life that has defeated forever the force of evil and death, o inscrutable gaze that never ceases to watch over men and people, Face concealed in the Eucharistic signs and in the faces of those that live with us, make us God's pilgrims in the world, longing for the Infinite and ready for the final encounter when we shall see you Lord "face to face" and be able to contemplate you forever in heavenly Glory. Mary, Mother of the Holy Face, help us have "innocent hands and a pure heart", hands illumined with the truth of love and enraptured by divine beauty, that transformed by the encounter with Christ, we may give ourselves to the poor and the suffering whose faces reflect the hidden presence of your Son Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen!

Thanks to Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, O.F.M., Cap., Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello for providing me with this prayer, and to Paul Badde for allowing the use of his photograph of the Holy Face.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pope John Paul II and the Veil of Veronica at St. Peter's

Saverio Gaeta, journalist and author of L'Altra Sindone, in his talk entitled "Did the Veronica disappear in 1527" given at the 2006 Chieti Conference on the Holy Face had this interesting statement:
"and here I can reveal that John Paul II also, prior to the Great Jubilee of 2000, had wished to see the picture preserved in the Vatican. He asked that it be brought to his own apartment, he looked at it attentively, and after having become personally aware of the lack of any image, had it brought back to the pillar of the Veronica, without taking any further initiative".

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


The Church, the Body of Christ, Light to the Nations on pilgrimage in the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

Christ the Head of the Church

Credo in unum Deum Patrem Omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae visibilium omnium et invisibilium.
I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen (visible and invisible)
Nicene Creed

From Paul's Letter to the Ephesians Chapter One Verses 15-22
"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Antonio Bini Discovers 1902 Comparison of Holy Face of Manoppello to the Shroud of Turin

The Italian journalist Antonio Bini writes to give witness to an article in the May 11, 1902 edition of "La Tribuna Illustrata" an Italian weekly. What follows is my translation of sections of his report appearing on the official website of the Shrine of the Holy Face entitled "105 anni fa scrivevano del Volto Santo e della Sindone. Ritrovata un' interessante testimonianza del 1902 su 'La Tribuna Illustrata" (105 years ago they were writing about the Holy Face and the Shroud. Rediscovered an interesting testimony from 1902 in "La Tribuna Illustrata")

In these last 10-15 years a number of scholars have insisted on the relationship between the Shroud and Holy Face, with comparisons and overviews, while other researchers seem to deny any relationship, and still others admiting only partial elements of continuity between the two relics. Precisely in relation to such tendencies, I think it interesting to bring up an article appearing in "La Tribuna Illustrata" of May 11, 1902, entitled: "The Holy Shroud of Turin and the Face of Jesus of Manoppello", that I recently had the possibility, or rather, the fortune, of acquiring, in the process of my research of documentation regarding the Holy Face. The article, with a unifying title - appears in two distinct parts, the first dedicated to the Shroud, the second, following, to the Holy Face, which is presented as the "Face of Jesus". The large circulation periodical sought to show an immediate link with this image of Christ, at that time totally unknown. In those years the interest for the Shroud had exploded after the diffusion of the photographs taken by the lawyer Secondo Pia - in occasion of the exposition of 1898- which represented a fundamental moment for new research on the relic. We must remember that Turin at that time, although no longer the capital of the Kingdom for a little more than 30 years, was however a large city, with a strong influence from the House of Savoy, which remained always linked to the Shroud, having previously given it to the Church. The discovery of Pia gave new impulse to the studies and research and allowed at the same time for a better interpretation of the signs present on the cloth...The photographic images of the Shroud, relates "La Tribuna Illustrata" were exposed at Paris, with a notable number of people attending, up to ten thousand a day. The weekly concluded by announcing the upcoming initiative of the daily "Le Figaro" which in the following days would place on sale a photograph of the Shroud. The article followed dedicating itself to the Holy Face - reprinting the text of a letter which appeared in the "Corriere di Napoli", a daily newspaper founded and directed by the journalist and writer from Abruzzo, Edoardo Scarfoglio (1860-1917), happy to give space to a testimony linked to his native region. The writer, Clemente Rije by name, probably from Naples, refers to his trip to Manoppello with his own evaluations of the nature of the Veil, showing a particular historical-religious culture and above all a capacity of "reading" the relic for themes which would be developed only many years after... Let's take a look at the following precise text of the article, relating to the part regarding the Holy Face.

'The Corriere di Napoli published a few days ago a letter from Signor Clemente Rije, who says that in a little town in the province of Chieti, there is preserved the Face of Jesus. According to an ancient legend what is preserved at Manoppello would in fact be the cloth used by Mary Magdalen, and would have been brought there by a mysterious pilgrim coming from Palestine. The small cloth is made of silk of the finest weave, as large as the frame of silver in which it is kept in the church of the Friars Minor Conventual (sic), where each year the devout go on pilgrimage. The characteristics of the cloth would be surprising because there does not appear any traces of coloration, while the face of Jesus is bright and clear, the hair is long and falling to the shoulders, the features are pale, the eyes spent, just as Publius Lentulus describes in his letter to Caesar. The letter of Rije concludes by saying that this cloth should be a stimulus for serious studies, especially since today the discussions regarding the Shroud of Turin have rekindled such a legitimate interest. Could this therefore be the True Icon from which comes the name of that Veronica which tradition holds to be the pious jewish woman who wiped the face of Jesus on the way to Calvary?"