Friday, February 2, 2018

Omnis Terra 2018 at Manoppello

photo by Antonio Bini


The appeal of Msgr. Americo Ciani, Canon of Saint Peter's Basilica, during the rite of Omnis Terra, celebrated in the Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello - January 14, 2018
by Antonio Bini

On the second Sunday after Epiphany, the ancient rite of Omnis Terra was celebrated at Manoppello, an event with a strong symbolic meaning, which follows in the footsteps of the centuries-old tradition begun by Pope Innocent III in the year 1208. The ancient rite in Rome included the procession of the Veronica, with the pope accompanied by the Canons of Saint Peter's, in the short journey that went from the Basilica of San Peter to the nearby church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, in the center of the historic hospital, probably the first founded in Europe.
During the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016 , the ancient procession was re-enacted, in which a replica of the Holy Face was brought to Rome, then exhibited in the Basilica of Santo Spirito in Sassia on January 16 and 17, 2016, with Masses celebrated by Archbishop Georg Gänswein (January 16) and by the Lebanese Archbishop Edmond Farhat, Canon of Saint Peter's (January 17). Both prelates, during the homily, had pronounced themselves on the identification of the Holy Face as the veil of Veronica (vera-ikon). In particular, it was Msgr. Gänswein, prefect of the papal household, to claim that the Holy Veil brought to Rome was a copy of the ancient original that Pope Innocent III showed to the sick and pilgrims which is now kept in Manoppello.
This year the celebration in Manoppello - which occurred on January 14 - was presided over, as last year, by Msgr. Americo Ciani, Canon of the patriarchal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, together with Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, Fr. Paolo Palombarini and other religious, including Fr. Pawel Paszko, Polish Capuchin who accompanied Fr. Carmine on the mission to Katowice and Krakow last December.
During the homily, Msgr. Ciani urged us to reflect on the anti-religious culture that spreads in today's society, inviting us to meditate on the authentic face of Christ, urging us - heartily and with his voice cracking at times with emotion - to "fix our gaze on Jesus Christ present here, in front of us. It is the Risen Christ, my dear ones. It is the Christ who bears the signs of passion, the signs of crucifixion. But it is the Risen Christ, who wants each one of us to rise again to new life. We continue to pray invoking and proposing to be new creatures capable of being witnesses of Jesus Christ ". 

During the Mass, Fr. Carmine, in thanking Msgr. Ciani for his presence, briefly explained the meaning of the rite, referring to the tradition initiated by Pope Innocent III, stating that its revival in Manoppello derives from the identification of the Holy Veil with the Veronica, according to a thesis supported, first by scholars (for example Fr Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J. retired Professor at the Gregorian University of Rome) and subsequently considered valid by various religious authorities.

In this respect, the value of the participation of Msgr. Ciani, Canon of St. Peter, belonging to that small number of prelates, directly appointed by the Pope, who have historically been entrusted with the custody of the relics of St. Peter's Basilica. Mons. Ciani is, in particular, among the canons who in recent years exhibited in Saint Peter's the copy of the Veronica,which has a dark background whose outlines are perceived only thanks to the frame that reproduces the features of a human face (Mgr Ciani on the right in the photo below by Paul Badde, while showing the "Veronica" in St. Peter's).

photo by Paul Badde

  At the end of the solemn mass, a procession with the Holy Face unfolded inside the Manoppello basilica, with a brief exit onto the plaza in front of the church and the final blessing of Omnis Terra, with the sacred image made to turn toward the four cardinal points, in an ideal embrace with the world. 

photo by Antonio Bini

The celebration saw the presence of the choir of the Basilica directed by the maestro Nicola Costantini and a representation of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. Among the many present, also were Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer and Paul Badde.
On his return to the Vatican, Msgr. Americo Ciani, thanked Fr. Carmine for "the honor granted to me to live a very touching day close to the Holy Face".
How many things have changed during this first part of the third millennium, if one thinks that only a few years ago it was not easy for those who had care of the Holy Face to talk about the Veronica.

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