Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Feast of the Holy Face May 19, 2019 Videos and Photos

all photos by Paul Badde

Video of Mass on the Feast of the Holy Face at the Shrine Presided by Archbishop Bruno Forte
Link above is to the video of the Opening Mass posted on the Facebook page of the Shrine

Inspiring Video taken by Angelo and Agatha Rytz with many closeups of the Holy Face during the procession from the Shrine of the Holy Face to the Church of San Nicola,

Procession with the Holy Face beginning at the Shrine  with statue of San Pancrazio at the head and Archbishop Bruno Forte and Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, OFM, Cap. close by

Holy Face leaving the Shrine to begin pilgrimage to Church of San Nicola

On the way to San Nicola Church

Narrow Way

In the streets of Manoppello

Friday, May 3, 2019

Biography of Father Domenico da Cese, Apostle of the Holy Face, Now Available in English

The biography of Father Domenico by Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner is now available in English.  Because of this book many people will be greatly assisted in the future by Father Domenico's intercession.  The book can be ordered at https://fraternitypublications.com/product/padre-domenico-da-cese-o-f-m-capuchin-an-illustrated-biography/

See Patricia Enk's blog for more information about this beautiful book on the life of Father Domenico and his dedication to the priesthood of Jesus Christ and, in particular, to the Holy Face of Jesus preserved in the Shrine in Manoppello.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Article on Daisy Neves Appears in Il Centro Newspaper of Abruzzo

I am very grateful to Antonio Bini for sending a copy of the article by Walter Teti which appeared last week in Il Centro, the newspaper of Abruzzo, Italy.  What follows is my translation of the article. 

Goodbye to Daisy, Missionary of the Holy Face.  She Brought the Holy Face to the USA and the Philippines

by Walter Teti

The faithful devoted to the Holy Face are shedding tears upon the death of Mrs. Daisy Neves, born in 1938 in the Philippines and immigrant as a young child with her family to Bellevue, Washington state, in the USA.  Coming to know of the Holy Face upon reading an article about the pilgrimage of Pope Benedict XVI to Manoppello, she immediately became fervently devoted to the Sacred Icon and worked for the promotion of knowledge of it. 

Daisy proposed to the rector of the Basilica of Manoppello, Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, the first international missions to the United States, Canada and the Philippines, to the cities of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Vancouver and Manila, which resulted in the enthronements of the Image of the Holy Face in churches of those localities.  The first enthronement occurred in 2014 at Nampicuan in the Philippines, which today is the goal of Christians from throughout Asia.

Daisy died as a result of an illness which appeared during the period in which she began to spread in the world knowledge and devotion to the Holy Face.  A very aggressive illness, with which she lived for more than five years, so much so that she came to say that the Holy Face prolonged her life. 

"The world has become poorer", wrote Fr. Carmine in his funeral message to Daisy's relatives.  During her last visit to Manoppello, accompanied by her son, she stayed at the Pilgrim Hotel adjacent to the Basilica.  She wished to spend a week in contemplation of the Face of Jesus.  Until just a few days before returning to the Lord she contemplated the Holy Face on a video she made with her cellphone. 

Fr Carmine has conferred on her the tile of "Missionary of the Holy Face".

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Seeing Christ's Love in His Holy Face

photo by CNS/Paul Haring
This article by Kathryn Jean Lopez originally appeared on the website of the weekly publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:  Angelus News at https://angelusnews.com/voices/kathryn-jean-lopez/seeing-christs-love-in-his-holy-face.  Thanks to Editor Pablo Kay for giving permission to post the article here.

There’s an altar dedicated to the Holy Face of Jesus at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, New York, where I find myself many days for Mass and prayer. It is one of the spots I am always drawn to. It has a cloth with an image of our Lord. 
Despite being in the middle of everything — and maybe it’s all the more powerful because it is — there can be great quiet there, right on Fifth Avenue in one of the busiest cities in the world, and opportunities for deep prayer. I’m forever seeing piety from daily visitors, joggers, and tourists who appear to be seeking the face of God whenever the doors of the church are open. 
This particular altar is definitely no exception. I’ll often see flowers left behind, a man kneeling, a woman lighting a candle. And I always feel like I am being drawn deeper into a love story — God’s love for us. 
From the Holy Face, my route is largely the same every time I’m there on my way to the Blessed Sacrament chapel dedicated to Our Lady. I always stop at the sixth station on the wall and look at the depiction of the face of Jesus there. 
I always try to get into the line of sight, between Jesus and Veronica. Veronica is so moved by the suffering of Christ in his passion that she walks up and gives him her veil to wipe his sweat and blood on, to give him a moment’s relief. 
Sometimes I see someone working on the frontlines of love — whether it be family life, or supporting struggling families, or another more hidden or thankless ministry; sometimes it’s the priesthood, and I want to do the same. 
Whatever church I’m in, truth be told, it does not have to be as grand as the cathedral in Manhattan or anywhere else — I’m always drawn to this station. I imagine myself looking at Jesus in his passion. Sometimes I’m pretty sure I can see him looking at me. 
We make him suffer and he knows our suffering. We’re together every day. These two profound realities are how we can more consciously live our lives with God. 
Lent is about remembering that, returning to him in love, knowing his presence. Seeing his face — most importantly in the Eucharist, especially after a good Confession — makes all the difference. 
It often doesn’t take very long after leaving a church in a city to encounter his face again in the faces of others. 
The other day it was the counterterrorism officer who was checking the outside of the cathedral with a dog who was sniffing everything that could be a potential hidden threat (the dirt and grass by the handicap ramp; the box that keeps the traffic light on the corner sidewalk running). 
If I’m at St. Patrick’s, frequently the first people I see there are tourists taking selfies. “May they see Christ’s image in them!” I whisper in prayer — sometimes as a plea, because God would appear furthest from their minds, on the surface between Victoria’s Secret and NBA store bags (such is the neighborhood). 
Most especially, Jesus’ face can be — and must be, for the sake of our souls and for the love of every man and woman and child on earth, which is how we love God in this mess of a world — seen in a man nesting on concrete, asking for spare change or a meal, desperate to be noticed, never mind loved. 
In so many of the artistic depictions of the Holy Face of Jesus, both his love and our need are laid bare. (If you were to Google now, you will find plenty of them. I’m partial to El Greco, but I always am.) There’s something about artistic renditions of his face that always seem to capture the depths of love. 
The human imagination captures something both of the truth of God and our longing for him. And as beautiful as so many of them are, they only begin to tell the story. They flow from the love of Jesus on the cross, a love that most of us have not even begun to fully truly appreciate. 
There’s no requirement to believe the Shroud of Turin or the Veil of Manoppello are, in fact, evidence of the Lord’s death and resurrection. But they do seem yet more windows into his love for us, not just in the images themselves but in the possible physical evidence for the skeptical and notes of love for the faithful they so many pilgrims believe them to be. 
As German journalist Paul Badde has laid out, the two of them, when brought together, show the exact same face — one a man who has died, and one of the same man with his eyes opened — and healed.

photo by Alan Holdren

Badde has literally written the book on the Holy Face, which is preserved at a shrine in the mountain village of Manoppello, Italy. Ask him to talk about the face of Christ, and he will immediately be making plans to show you things. 
If you can’t plan a day trip to Manoppello with the Holy Face, he will show you a replica in his apartment, and likely hand you a card with its image before you part ways. 
He says it was the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe who first brought the Holy Face of Jesus to his attention — because she always brings you to her Son. He’s since written of the Veil of Manoppello as an adventurous investigation. 
He’s convinced this is the face of Jesus and that it is about the most important relic there is because of the deeper knowledge it draws us into, the reality of Jesus in our lives and in our world. God “didn’t become a book, he became a person. God became a person. Man.” 
Badde is not the only evangelist for Manoppello. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI took a pilgrimage to the shrine where it resides in the Abruzzo mountains. 
He said at the time: “As the Psalms say, we are all ‘seeking the Face of the Lord.’ And this is also the meaning of my visit. Let us seek together to know the face of the Lord ever better, and in the face of the Lord let us find this impetus of love and peace, which also reveals to us the path of our life.”
The “Volto Santo” (“Holy Face”) has very much become a ministry for Badde. He believes it is critical in this age of disbelief to stop and look and consider the implications of a God who would live and die and be resurrected for love of us and to redeem us for our sins for eternity. 
He fears that so many — even at high levels in the Church — don’t actually believe in the Resurrection. The Holy Face can change this, he believes. And he’s not only talking about people in the pews, but theologians and bishops, too. 
Maybe that explains how scandals can happen — the weakness of belief, the rise of unbelief and outright hostility to real religious faith, even where it would be expected to be most solid. They think resurrection is “good preaching or … a living community. 
“No, resurrection is real. Jesus was dead and he resurrected from the dead. He’s alive. From the dead to alive. … That’s so important. It’s so important against all the heresies about it, because all the heresies … at the foundation … are about not believing in the Resurrection anymore.”

Pope Benedict XVI in prayer before the Holy Face of Manoppello - photo by L'Osservatore Romano

He believes the veil bears witness to the reality of the Resurrection, which is why he is somewhat tenderly relentless about telling its story. 
In his own reflection on the relic, Cardinal Robert Sarah says: “In Manoppello we encounter God face-to-face. It is such a moving place. One is so touched by the gentleness of Christ’s eyes, with their extraordinary penetrating and calming power. And when we let ourselves be seen by him, his gaze purifies and heals us. We can really sense how much Jesus has loved us — so much as to die for us. For true love is dying for the one you love.”
It’s hard to miss that when I ask Badde about the veil, his morning routine, and how he spends his days. All he can talk about is the love of God and the love he draws us into in the Eucharist and the eyes we see on the face on the veil. 
When meditating on the Holy Face of Jesus, whether the Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Manoppello, your parish’s sixth station of the cross, or whatever image your Google search seeking his face lands you on, be drawn in to the truth of what we celebrate as “Good” on that last Friday before Easter year after year. 
There’s no guarantee any one of us will live to see another Paschal Triduum — so don’t let Holy Week be reduced to a series of mere obligations and traditions. 
Gaze at the Lord in his passion, walk with him even to the gates of hell on Holy Saturday. Go to the empty tomb with Mary Magdalene in prayer. Make his love story for us the story of your life, because this is what he wants, this is our identity as Christians. 
Look at him with love and let him look at you with just a touch of a taste of the enormity of his love for you. And you will see this more and more as everything. And you will see his face more and more in the world, just as others will be able to see his face in yours by how you look at them with love. 
Manoppello is worth reading more about. But even if you don’t, remember the love with which the Lord looks down at you from the cross, remember the love with which he forgives and heals and makes you new again. Keep seeking his face.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a contributing editor to Angelus, and editor-at-large of National Review Online 
Editor’s note: Journalist Paul Badde’s book “The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus” (Ignatius, $17.95) tells the story of the historical and scientific evidence behind the belief that the Veil of Manoppello is the face cloth laid over the face of Jesus in the tomb.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

EWTN to Air Program on Easter Sunday on the Topic of the Holy Face of Manoppello

The popular Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) weekly show Bookmark will have as its topic for Easter Sunday April 21 the Holy Face of Manoppello.  Host Doug Keck will interview the journalist and author Paul Badde regarding his latest book:  The Holy Veil of Manoppello.  (Sophia Press).  Easter is a most appropriate time to see and meditate on the face-cloth (Sudarium) of Jesus left behind in the tomb as a witness to the Resurrection. 

The show is scheduled to air on Sunday April 21 at 6:30am, and also on Monday April 22 at 2am and 1:30pm, and Saturday April 27 at 10:30am.  All times are Pacific Daylight Time.  

Several quotes from the book:
"the Church of Saint Michael on the Tarigni Hill, at the gates of Manoppello, where, since 1638, the sudarium of Christ had been hidden. A fortified case secured by three padlocks, placed in one of the side chapels, protected the veil, which was taken out only twice a year to be shown to the faithful.
This place, which concealed the most beautiful and precious treasure of the Catholic Church, was not a royal basilica like that of the House of Savoy in Turin or the beautiful houses of God scattered around Europe, such as St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. No, it was a small, insignificant Capuchin church at the periphery of Italy, forgotten by the rest of the world." 


"Today an almost visionary kind of grassroots movement is leading Christianity from its own depths to the Holy Face. It started in America with a Filipino lady, Daisy Neves of Bellevue, Washington, on the border of Canada. In October 2006, she saw in an American newspaper a photo of Pope Benedict XVI from September 1, with his hands clasped in prayer his gaze fixed on the Holy Veil in a distant Italian town she had never heard of, despite the more than thirty pilgrimages that had led her already to Christianity’s most important shrines and sites of devotion.
“I have to go!” she told herself. “I must see it!” Five years later, at Easter in 2011, she finally found herself in front of that veil, euphoric and excited like a little girl. She put all the money she had with her into the offering box for the friars, and it was no small amount, but for her it did not seem to be enough.And here begins another story that could fill the pages of a book, but this time written by Americans and Filipinos, focused  on documenting how, through whom, and by what miracles the of the Holy Sudarium with the “face of the God of Jacob” arrived in the New World and in Asia."

            Quoting Archbishop Georg Gänswein on January 16, 2016, the feast of Omnis Terra, at the Roman Church of Santo Spirito near St. Peter's Basilica. 
 "Before coming to Rome, the Sacred Veil was guarded in Constantinople, prior to that in Edessa, and even earlier in Jerusalem. This face cannot be the property or the jealous treasure of one place, one church, or one owner, not even of the popes. It is the “trademark of Christians.” Only we know that God has a face; only we know who and how He is. For this reason, the face of Christ is the most noble and precious treasure of all Christianity, indeed of all the earth, omnis terra! To this face we have to set out ever anew—always as pilgrims; always to areas of the periphery of our conception. And always having only one goal in front of us: the moment we will face him face-to-face. Amen" 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Message from Fr. Carmine Cucinelli in Memory of Daisy Neves Naming her Missionary of the Holy Face

Daisy Neves alongside her beloved Holy Face

MESSAGE from Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello in memory of DAISY NEVES
Dear children, brother, sister, nephews and nieces and family whole, relatives and friends of DAISY,
I would like to express to you my so profound and cordial condolences.
On March 29 2019, the world has impoverished for the loss of a dear and marvelous person. We have lost a woman of profound faith, a holy mother, a wise guide, a benefactress, a person on sensible and delicate spirit; a great and in-loved devout of the Holy Face.
Last year month of October, feeling that horrendous sickness that was returning to threaten her, she wanted to spend a week in the contemplation of the face of Christ here in Manoppello, accompanied by her son Alfred, staying a few steps from the sanctuary.
She wanted to contemplate long that face before going to see him in heaven.
Back home, when her cancer became definitely acute, was been obedient to what the doctors said: she underwent harrowing treatment. She wrote me:
"my life is in God's hands. Terrible to say that I am plagued with 2 types of cancer. I will continue to pray for trust in the Lord who gives life and who takes it away as He pleases. I surrender my life to the divine will of God. Amen. I am really ready to see Jesus face to face. I just have to enjoy every day that the Lord has granted me in prayers, and to work at the Mission of the Holy Face, which is my joy and, if He gives me more time, I would like to continue spreading the devotion to Holy Face”.
Her pilgrimage to heaven is similar to that of a patriarch, surrounded by the love of the beloved, whom she had blessed one by one. She was so happy to have seen the Holy Face, her reliquary, enthroned in her parish church. Until a few hours before returning to the Lord she has contemplated in video, the Holy Face almost alive from Manopello,
She has loved everyone, she has forgiven those who had hurt her and offered to the Lord all his sufferings for the spiritual good of family members, because they may live as true children of God. She asked many Holy Masses to be celebrated for every dear member of the family and for every friend so that their lives may be filled with many heavenly blessings.
While we blow off in tears over the loss of this dear sister, we want to thank God for the gift of giving us Daisy for over eighty years.
For being so grateful for all she has done for the diffusion of the DEVOTION TO THE HOLY FACE, we from the SANTUARY OF MANOPELLO, entitle and attribute to Mrs. Daisy Neves the title "MISSIONARY OF THE HOLY FACE”.
God uses much mercy toward her and the rest in the eternal Kingdom.
Padre Carmine Cucinelli, Rettore della basilica del Volto Santo di Manoppello

Fr. Carmine, Sr. Petra-Marie, Sr. Blandina, Daisy and her son Erwin in October 2018

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Requiescat in Pace Daisy Neves

Daisy in Manoppello in October 2018

Daisy alongside her Son Erwin and Fr. Carmine speaking to pilgrims to Manoppello from California 
Our beloved friend and guide in promoting the knowledge and love of the Holy Face around the world has died peacefully early this morning.  There is so much to say about the life of this modern day St. Helen who managed in the space of five years to light a fire in the hearts of millions for the Holy Face.  For now we simply pray with the joyful hope in the words of Deacon Christoph Sandoval of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco:  "May the Holy Angels escort our beloved Daisy Neves to the bosom of the Father in the company of Our Lord Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. May she behold the sweet countenance of the Holy Face of Manoppello for all eternity." Amen!

photos by Antonio Bini

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Article on Holy Face of Manoppello in diocesan weekly Catholic San Francisco

Christ’s image inspires at Italian shrine: Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, while in Rome to visit with local priests studying and serving there, celebrated Mass Jan. 20 at the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello in Manoppello, Italy. The Holy Face is said to be a cloth laid on Jesus' face after his death.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Blessing of Omnis Terra with the Holy Face of Manoppello

Thanks to Paul Badde for this video of the three prelates, Cardinal Gerhard Müller Archbishop Bruno Forte and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone giving the blessing at the end of the Omnis Terra celebration on Sunday January 20 at the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Articles Appear on the Holy Face of Manoppello in USA and Australia following Catholic News Service Team Visit to Manoppello

photo by Antonio Bini

A Catholic News Service article by Correspondent Junno Arocho Esteves together with Multimedia Journalist Robert Duncan and Senior Photographer Paul Haring was carried in diocesan Catholic newspapers and websites throughout the United States and also in Australia.

Fr. Carmine Cucinelli displaying the Holy Face to the CNS team with Paul Badde in the background
(photo by Antonio Bini)

 Here is a video report on the day, just prior to the feast of Omnis Terra, that the CNS team spent in Manopello.  The video report includes commentary by Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, Fr. Paolo Palombarini, Antonio Bini and Paul Badde.

Here is a sampling of the articles appearing in many of the major cities of the USA and also in Sydney, Australia.

http://catholicphilly.com/2019/01/news/world-news/seeking-christs-face-some-believe-hilltop-shrine-holds-true-relic/     Philadelphia

https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/could-the-veil-of-manoppello-be-the-face-of-jesus/  Sydney Australia

https://angelusnews.com/news/junno-arocho-esteves/seeking-christs-face-some-believe-hilltop-shrine-holds-true-relic  Los Angeles

http://www.hawaiicatholicherald.com/2019/02/06/seeking-christs-face/    Honolulu

photo by Paul Badde


http://thecentralminnesotacatholic.org/seeking-christs-face-some-believe-hilltop-shrine-holds-true-relic/  St. Cloud, Minnesota

https://thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=184162     Boston

Diocese of Brooklyn, New York Spanish language newspaper

https://detroitcatholic.com/news/catholic-news-service/seeking-christs-face-some-believe-hilltop-shrine-holds-true-relic    Detroit

http://thecatholicspirit.com/news/nation-and-world/seeking-christs-face-some-believe-hilltop-shrine-holds-true-relic/    Minneapolis-St. Paul

http://www.themessageonline.org/us_news/article/id/20805    Evansville, Indiana

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Omnis Terra 2019 in Manoppello

all photos by Paul Badde

Omnis terra in Manoppello

A Copernican turn in the fog of Abruzzo

by Paul Badde

"Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi"

(Let all the world adore you, O God and sing psalms to you). 
Psalm 100

On the feast day of St. Agnes the Virgin, martyred for Christ in the third century in Rome,there appeared in the New York  magazine a glossy cover story about the “gay church”.  That was to be expected sooner rather than later.  What was wholly unexpected was that, a day before, Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, the prefect of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017, arrived in Manoppello to come together with the archbishops Bruno Forte from Chieti-Vasto in Abruzzo and Salvatore Cordileone from San Francisco, California, to bless the city, the world and the Church with the face of Christ on his sudarium.

The Aaronic Blessing
 In Hebrew, kohanim birkat םיִנֲהֹּכ תַּכְרִּב, by which God is entreated that his face might shine upon us, is the oldest recorded blessing of the whole entire Bible.  But this blessing is not given to be received from the outstretched hands of the priests, but with the "true Icon "of the human face of God- from the hands of three bishops from Germany, Italy and America -

This was unheard of and has never been this way before. The American news outlet Catholic News Service CNS had beforehand pointed to the event and could not guess what was about to happen. 

Because for Benedict XVI on September 1, 2006, the first Pope after four hundred years to again  bend his knee and bow to the true facecloth of Christ, nevertheless, the circumstances and much resistance had allowed him little more time before the precious icon than would any Japanese tourist be allowed.  Neither the local bishop nor the guardian of the shrine could then dare to ask the Pontiff to bless the world with the true icon. So this Sunday it was no less than a theological turning point, as Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller with two chief shepherds from the Old and the New Worlds blessed the city of Manoppello, the world and the church with the face of Christ.

It was an unprecedented celebration hearkening back to the year 1208 when Pope Innocent III first made known in Rome the face of God to the Latin world of the West on the second Sunday after the feast of the apparition to the peoples (Epiphany), bearing in his hands the hitherto unknown Sanctissimo Sudarium in a solemn procession from St. Peter’s Basilica to the nearby Hospital Church of Sancto Spirito in Sassia.   (cf. https://holyfaceofmanoppello.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-return-of-veronica-to-rome.html also https://holyfaceofmanoppello.blogspot.com/2016/01/from-manoppello-to-rome-january-16-to.html and https://dzehnle.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-roman-pilgrimage-with-holy-face.html )

This Sunday bears the name "Omnis Terra " after the Latin Entrance Psalm for the day. This tradition began again in the same church three years ago by the archbishops Georg Gänswein from Germany (cf. homily of Archbishop Gänswein )and Edmond Farhat from Lebanon
(cf. Homily of Archbishop Farhat) together with pilgrims from Manoppello. It was in the "Year of Mercy ", which Pope Francis proclaimed. And it borders on a miracle that the spark already three years later jumped to California where the brave archbishop, whose diocese adjoins the Silicon Valley and includes the headquarters of YouTube and Facebook, the very same evening published the following statement on the internet:

:My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound.  It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real.  I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image.  It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting.  It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus.  The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating.  My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now. I will also always be thankful for the opportunity to concelebrate the Mass with Cardinal Muller, along with the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, the next day – “Omnis terra” Sunday.  To participate with them in blessing the people with the Holy Face and then having the privilege to carry it in returning it to its place of safe keeping was a blessing I will never forget.I encourage everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ and love for him to cultivate a devotion to this holy image he has left us – a picture of the first instant of the Resurrection.". - Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, California,- Manoppello, on January 20, 2019 "

The American archbishop "Lionheart" from San Francisco and his Italian brother and Manoppello’s local bishop Bruno Forte, fellow celebrities at the side of the German cardinal, could not be more different. The savvy Monsignor Forte has already fourteen years prior laconically stated that in the enigmatic veil-icon "sorrow and light are close together, as  only love can be ". Since then - and especially after the visit of Pope Benedict XVI -numerous Cardinals have streamed here and are so enthusiastic in their homage to the image, as the evangelist Matthew told of the biblical wise men from the East in front of the child in Bethlehem.

Most recently it was the Cardinals Kurt Koch (cf. Visit of Cardinal Koch) from Switzerland , Robert Sarah (cf.Visit of Cardinal Sarah) from Africa and Antonio Tagle (cf. Homily of Cardinal Tagle) from Asia. Who knows the image, knows that the power of silence rests in it.   It has been scientifically proven for decades that it is not painted and contains no imaging color or blood traces. Nevertheless, there is a decades long conspiracy of professors and experts (who have for the most part never seen it) against the spiderwebs sheath made of mussel silk, since it was first identified in the seventies of the last century by the Capuchin Domenico da Cese as the hagion soudarion, which the evangelist John prominently mentioned next to other cloths in the empty tomb of Christ in his report on the resurrection of Christ from the dead.  

The dispute should be no surprise. Already in the first millennium the Soudarion led to the extremely violent wars and dislocations of the so-called "Iconoclastic controversies". In fact, the issue raised today is not about images but rather the question of God: “You -- who do you think I am?”.  

The spectacular response of Cardinal Muller, is even more of a breakthrough than the visit of Pope Benedict to Manoppello, in which one of the most prominent Church theologians at the end of the Gutenberg Age (dominated by Dr. Luther's maxim "Sola scriptura") in front of this great icon and mother of the images not made by human hands, but still, so to speak,  before the book of evidence has been closed, and without even speaking in his homily of the day's Gospel (the wedding of Cana), but said the following:

“When we are thus face to face with Jesus, person to person, and gaze upon his human face, then we see in Jesus' eyes the benevolent, discerning, judging and saving power of love, which is God in the unity and communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We see Jesus with our physical eyes and recognize his divine nature and power with the "the eyes of [our] hearts enlightened," (Ephesians 1:18) … 
The Apostle Paul calls the human nature of Christ, through which we recognize God's glory and from which we are fulfilled, the "likeness of God" – imago Dei (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is not an image of God conceived in a finite mind and made by man…
Christ is true God of true God. In the darkness of sin, which "blinded the minds of unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 4:4), God has let his light shine in the hearts of believers, "to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). 
We recognize this when we look Jesus in the eye and offer ourselves to His gaze upon us without malice And this is the creed of the Church, which Paul delivered to the Corinthians as he himself received it: "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve". (1 Cor 15:3-5). 
The Gospel of John tells of the discovery of the empty tomb. When Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, she saw that the stone in front of the burial chamber had been taken away. And because she feared that the body had been taken away, she brought Peter and the other disciple there. Peter went first into the tomb and "he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself" (John 20:6f). Peter, then, is the first witness of the empty tomb.
 In the apparitions of the Risen One, it is Jesus who gives him and the other apostles proof that he lives with God and that he has returned to his Father. But he has not discarded his human nature, rather living with his glorified body forever as the Word made flesh in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is the head of the body that is the Church. Through Him, as children of God, we have access to the Father and may expect the inheritance of eternal life. And the exalted Lord remains with us with his Gospels and encounters us in the sacraments of his grace.
When Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, the stone is rolled away from the outside of the burial cave. Jesus calls him out. When the deceased comes out, his feet and hands are still wrapped in bandages and his face is covered with a sudarium. But everything must be removed from him, because he cannot free himself from the bandages of death (John 11:44).
 Jesus, who says of himself, "I am the life (John 14:6), rises from the dead with the power of God Himself. The stone before the tomb was taken away before the women came to the tomb. Jesus does not need to be freed from the bonds of death, because he has overcome his and our death by his own divine power.
 St. Thomas Aquinas recognizes in his commentary on John a reference to the church in the relationship of the many bandages to the one sudarium "which had been on his head" (John 20:7), rolled up in a place by itself. In the Godhead united with his human nature, Christ is the head of the Church, for "the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3).
Especially in the Most Holy Eucharist he takes us into the mystery of his dedication to the Father. In Holy Communion we receive communion with Him in His flesh and blood as food and drink for eternal life.
 St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine, in their comments on the Gospel of John, asked themselves why the evangelist, when discovering the empty tomb, described these trivialities, such as the linen bandages and the folded sudarium, in such detail. They were convinced, however, that the evangelist would not communicate anything in a manner so intricate if it were unimportant for our Faith.
If the historical, sacramental and ecclesial presence of the Son made man is decisive for our salvation, it is not unimportant that we also seek out His historical traces. They save us from the danger of a Gnostic and idealistic evaporation of God's human presence in this world. Without entering into scientific debates, the encounter with Christ in the imprint of His face on the Manoppello Sudarium seems to me to be of great importance for the piety of today's Christian. The uneven history of its rediscovery has come to a good end, arriving at the point of deep veneration and adoration of Jesus Christ, who as a man is the image of God, his Father and our Father in heaven.
 Much remains hidden from the wise and prudent, that God however does reveal to lesser minds in the humility of Faith. Gazing into the most holy face of Jesus, as it was traced into the sudarium on his head, should give us new strength that our life may hold true in the eyes of God. For we believe and know that we will one day see God through and in Christ, the image of God, "face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12).”
Thus the words of Cardinal Muller's sermon. Even more telling, however, were the pictures taken at the end of the solemn pontifical Mass with his brothers in their common blessing gesture with the facecloth.. It was a Copernican revolution, and yes, it really was a breakthrough that in its meaning must be compared with the book "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium" of Nicolaus Copernicus of 1543. The analogy is neither reckless nor indiscriminate. A lot of the facts of Copernicus were wrong and almost all the details.  Nevertheless, we honor him for being one who has drawn a new picture that is essentially true: with the sun in the center!

And now the three bishops raised like hardly ever before in the liturgy of this new blessing with the human face God's return the visible Jesus Christ to the center of the world and the Church and made it clearer than ever that the Creator of the Heaven and the earth has not become a book at the end of days, but man, and with it also picture. It was an unprecedented translation of all theology into the new and universal imagery that has become the digital revolution of the world in its entirety

"Iconic Turn" as a new means of communication.

Now it was suddenly as if the time of the eclipse haunting the earth, the world and the church finally ends in the misty Abruzzo with the look into the merciful eyes of Christ by the three shepherds
There was no further dispute on the overwhelming, sometimes almost suffocating, problems and capital sins that the Church of our day poses, but with the holy facecloth Christ has steered a whole new look towards his face, as the head of the church and the face of love, "that moves the sun and the other stars” as Dante, the prince among poets, still formulated at the goal of the cosmic pilgrimage in his Divine Comedy. Ω

Monday, February 4, 2019

Enthronements of the Holy Face in Churches of the World

as shown in the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face:  Il Volto Santo di Manoppello, Vol. CIII, no. 2 November 2018, p. 30

 ► Ruvo di Puglia (Bari) Italy
Church of Purgatory - 1979

► Richmond Hill, Toronto, Canada
Our Lady Queen of the world - 1986

► Bari, Italy  Church of the Blessed Sacrament
parish priest Don Vincenzo Fiore - 1986

► Nampicuan, Philippines
Immaculate Conception Parish Church -
September 16th, 2014

► Rome, Italy
Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch al Statuario
November 4, 2014

► Delta, British Columbia, Canada
 Immaculate Conception Church
 September 4, 2015

► Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
St. Patrick Church
September 5, 2015

► Taguig, Philippines
Sagrada Familia Parish
September 14, 2015

► Katowice, Poland
Immaculate Conception Church -
December 18, 2015

► Bustos, Bulacan, Philippines
San Martin de Porres Mission Church Orphanage
September 12,  2015

► Baliuag, Bulacan,  Philippines
Bethlehem House of Bread Mission Chapel
September 12th 2015

► Buguias, Benquet, Philippines
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church

► Flintridge,  California,  USA
Saint Bede Church
April 13, 2016

► Las Vegas, Nevada,  USA
St Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church
September 10, 2016

► Catbalogan City, Philippines
Church of Saint Bartholomew Apostle - Diocese of Calbayog
October 30, 2016

► Baguio, Philippines
Cathedral of  Our Lady of the Atonement
 November 30th, 2016

► Samar, Philippines
Cathedral of St. Bartholomew Apostle
December 15, 2016

►  Meycauayan, Malolos, Philippines
St Francis of Assisi Church
November 13, 2016

► Baguio City, Philippines,
The Pink Sisters Convent , Brent Road
November 2016

► Bulacan, Luzon, Philippines
 Cathedral of Malolos
April 16th, 2017

► Lebanon, Father Nadim,Maronite
May 2017

► East Palo Alto, California, USA
St. Francis of Assisi Church
November 11, 2017

► Friend, Nebraska, USA
St. Joseph Church
February,  2018

► Beyrouth, or Blat Byblos, Lebanon
Church of Sant'Elia,
May 2017

► Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia,
Convent of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy
June 14, 2018

► Rome, Italy
St. Elizabeth and Zechariah Church
 October 14th, 2018

► Manila, Philippines -
Chapel of St. Joseph the Worker (BSP)
November 14, 2018

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco at the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello for the Feast of Omnis Terra

photo by Antonio Bini

It's my great joy to report on the visit of Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, to the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello for the feast of Omnis Terra, on Sunday January 20.  This blog has the honor of originating from within the territory of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Archbishop Cordileone arrived at the Shrine the day before the feast to spend time in prayer before the Holy Face and to enjoy the hospitality of the Capuchin Friars who are responsible for the Shrine.  According to the Communications Director of the Shrine, Antonio Bini, the Archbishop was greatly moved by the experience of praying before the Holy Face and expressed his great gratitude to the the Capuchin Friars for their hospitality,

Archbishop Cordileone with Padre Carmine Cucinelli at his left and Padre Paolo Palombarini far left
(photo by Antonio Bini)

The day of the feast Archbishop Cordileone concelebrated the Mass with Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, the Provincial of the Capuchins Fr. Nicola Galasso as well as the Rector of the Shrine Father Carmine Cucinelli.  Archbishop Cordileone took a turn at leading the Eucharistic Prayer (note the photo above with the Archbishop at the far right speaking into the microphone) and  helped to distribute Holy Communion to the faithful.

photo by Antonio Bini
At the end of the Mass, following the procession with the monstrance of the Holy Face around the plaza outside the church,  Cardinal Muller, Archbishop Forte, and Archbishop Cordileone together clasped their hands around the base of the monstrance and blessed the gathered assembly and Omnis Terra -- the whole world.  After the blessing Archbishop Cordileone was entrusted with the monstrance of the Holy Face to return it to its place of perpetual exposition above the shrine's tabernacle.
Procession on the plaza in front of the Basilica (photo by Francesca Esposito Bini)

Blessing with the Holy Face by Cardinal Muller, Archbishop Forte and Archbishop Cordileone
(photo by Antonio Bini)

photo by Antonio Bini

In an e-mail to the journalist Maike Hickson Archbishop Cordileone spoke about his visit:
My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound.  It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real.  I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image.  It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting.  It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus.  The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating.  My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now. 
I will also always be thankful for the opportunity to concelebrate the Mass with Cardinal Muller, along with the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, the next day – “Omnis terra” Sunday.  To participate with them in blessing the people with the Holy Face and then having the privilege to carry it in returning it to its place of safe keeping was a blessing I will never forget.

I encourage everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ and love for him to cultivate a devotion to this holy image he has left us – a picture of the first instant of the Resurrection."
 In the Guest Book of the Shrine Archbishop Cordileone wrote
Here one looks at God face to face, thanks for your hospitality and for all you do to welcome pilgrims and to spread the devotion to the Holy Face.
                                                             January 20, 2019
                                                            + Salvatore Cordileone
                                                             Archbishop of San Francisco
                                      (English translation from the Archbishop's original Italian)

While spending time with the Capuchin community of the Shrine, staying overnight and sharing in their meals,  Archbishop Cordileone also received from Antonio Bini several copies of his publication, The Holy Face, from Manoppello to the World, a collection of Bini's articles on the Holy Face, which were translated by the editor of this blog.  This publication is also available online at:

photo by Francesca Esposito Bini