Monday, April 18, 2016
THE WAY OF THE HOLY FACE - 2016 Edition
by Antonio Bini
During the coming month of May there will take place the second edition of the Way of the Holy Face (Cammino del Volto Santo), starting in Rome on May 3 and finishing the 13th of the same month at the Shrine of the Holy Face (Pescara), just before the third Sunday in May on which takes place the annual feast of the Holy Face.
The Way aims to retrace the path that a mysterious pilgrim likely followed to bring the sacred image to Manoppello, safely preserving it - probably - from the destruction and looting of the Sack of Rome (1527).
It should also be recalled that on January 16 and 17, 2016 a pilgrimage from Manoppello to Rome, promoted by an agreement between the shrine of Manoppello and that of Santo Spirito in Sassia, revived the ancient rite of the sacred image's procession instituted by Pope Innocent III in 1208. During two solemn celebrations, the Archbishops Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household (January 16) and Edmond Y. Farhat, Canon of St. Peter's (January 17), drew the deep historical and spiritual significance of this re-enactment, which appropriately returned in the extraordinary Jubilee celebration of Mercy.
The Way will develop in stages, for a total of 300 kilometers, taking inspiration from the route of the Tiburtina-Valeria consular road that connected Rome with Abruzzo up to Ostia-Aterni (now Pescara), along ancient trails through medieval villages and historical abbeys, traveled in the past, in whole or in part, by saints including St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed Thomas of Celano, St. Peter of Morrone (Celestine V), Saint Camillus de Lellis, and St. Stephen del Lupo. The Way is part of a broader tradition of pious pilgrimages on foot which until the nineteen sixties reached Manoppello from various parts of the region to participate in the feast of May.
During the various stages the travelers will be accommodated in facilities provided by a network of municipalities, thanks to the collaboration of associations and volunteers in the area. People may also wish to participate in individual sections of the Way.
During the first edition of the journey the participants were met with congeniality, making them also a sign of opportunities for fraternity and sincere hospitality.
The Shrine of the Holy Face supports the initiative expressing the hope that the new edition of the Way will reinforce this experience of friendship, solidarity and faith, following the example of the medieval pilgrimage, in the spirit of the Jubilee of Mercy, with the involvement of local communities in which there is no shortage of devotees of the Holy Face. To this end, the rector of the Shrine in recent weeks has addressed a cordial invitation to all parish priests of the towns through which the Way will pass.