Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Recap of Historic September 2014 Mission of the Holy Face to the United States West Coast and to the Philippines Part One

Fr. Christian Magtalas and Fr. Carmine Cucinelli

Translated from the official journal of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello "Il Volto Santo di Manoppello" December 2014 edition
photos courtesy of Father Christian Magtalas

By Father Carmine Cucinelli, O.F.M., Cap.

The Holy Face has again crossed the ocean and has reached the Far West of the USA, in particular the city of Las Vegas and then went on to the Philippine Islands, touching Asia. The idea for this trip came from Mrs. Daisy Neves, a very devout Filipina resident of Bellevue in the state of Washington, USA. Just as in 1638 Doctor Donatantonio de Fabritiis, after donating to the Capuchins the Sacred Relic then invited them to spread devotion to the Holy Face, so Mrs. Neves turned in our time to the Capuchins to make known the sacred Image in a territory very far from the center of Christianity. She deserves our most heartfelt thanks, as also thank to the religious superiors who gave approval to the mission: the Capuchin Provincial Father Carmine Ranieri and Mons. Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti who wrote the letters of credence to the Bishops of the dioceses where the presentations were held. Thanks also to Don Danilo Flores who was my interpreter. Thanks to the ladies Joanne Domantay and Elena Alzate, Doris Lopez, Mrs. Elenita Binay, wife of the Vice President of the Philippines Jejomar Binay.

By the editors of "Il Volto Santo di Manoppello"

What for us at the shrine of Manoppello was a simple visit to make known the Holy Face and to spread the devotion in parishes contacted by friends, for the Filipinos was a grand event. The Episcopal Conference of the Philippines, by a statement on its website, disseminated the program of the mission, even pronouncing that "The faithful Filipinos would have the possibility of venerating a copy of that which is believed to be the imprint of the face of the Lord.

The communique explained that "The sacred object is a shroud, a veil or a handkerchief commonly used by Jews to cover the face of their dead at the burial’ and also referred to “the visit of Benedict XVI to Manoppello, which he decided upon after reading the book of Paul Badde ":"The Face of God - The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus" (english edition by Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2010).

The statement also referred to the latest issue of the American journal “Inside the Vatican", with the image of Manoppello on its cover and containing an article which summarizes the main features of the veil, based on historical and scientific research: The faces of the Shroud of Turin and the cloth of Manoppello are a match; both images are "acheiropoietas " in the sense that they were not made by human hands. The Veil would be dated between the time of the crucifixion of the Lord and his Resurrection.

The Shroud of Turin shows the image of a man with closed eyes and fresh wounds while that on the veil of Manoppello has a face with eyes open and closed wounds. To support these conclusions they make reference also to Church authorities, perhaps alluding to the visits and testimonies of so many Cardinals who in recent years have been to Manoppello.

The statement of the Bishops' Conference was picked up by radio, television and newspapers, including the Manila Times, the oldest English language newspaper in the Philippines. Catholic Radio Veritas of the Philippines followed the mission each day but it was especially television, both local and national to broadcast during news programs explanations of the Holy Face, reaching millions of people (of the 100 million inhabitants of the Philippines an estimated 70 million are Catholic).

The faithful, who were waiting for this event, flocked and packed all the churches chosen. Very great was the manifestation of faith expressed by the faithful who participated joyfully in mass. The priests who agreed to host the image of the Holy Face were numerous and many were disappointed that their church had not been included among those chosen.

Bishops became personally involved and presided over the celebrations. Among them were: Bishop Ramon Arguelles, Bishop Emilio Marquez, Bishop Roberto Mallari, Bishop Florentino Cinense, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara.

Among the cities visited were Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Lipa, Batangas, Quiapo, and Mandaluyong City.

Here are some links to videos on the internet to get an idea of the mission carried out.
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