Saturday, May 31, 2008

Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI Composed on September 1, 2007, the First Anniversary of his Visit to the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

In honor of this last day of May, the month of Mary, Feast of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, and traditionally,the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, here is an excerpt of Pope Benedict XVI's prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus which ends with an invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"Mary, Mother of the Holy Face, help us have 'innocent hands and a pure heart', hands illumined with the truth of love and hearts 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. Amen!"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Beautiful Montage of Photographs from the Feast of the Holy Face of Manoppello by Antonio Teseo

Antonio Teseo, one of the most perceptive and spiritual minded commentators on the Holy Face of Manoppello has posted a series of photographs showing the recent pilgrimage (May 17, 18, 19) from the Shrine to the parish church of San Nicola. See this on Youtube

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J. Teaches about Holy Face of Manoppello

In 2000 Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J., Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome edited a book entitled Il Volto Santo di Manoppello(The Holy Face of Manoppello), published by Carsa Edizioni in Pescara. On page 13 Father Pfeiffer writes,

"Is the Veil of Veronica found in Rome or in Manoppello? That's what many are asking after having known the Holy Face in the shrine near the little city in Abruzzo. By now its accepted almost everywhere that no trace of an image is found on that piece of cloth which is still venerated today in the basilica of St. Peter's in Rome. On the other hand there have already been attempts to remove the 6th station from the Way of the Cross in as much as modern theologians don't believe any more in the existence of a woman with the name of Veronica who would have given her veil to Christ in order to wipe his bloody face during the ascent to Calvary.

In Rome this saint was never depicted prior to the painting by Ugo da Carpi in 1525, a painting intended to be located in the place where the relic of the Holy Face was shown to the crowds of pilgrims, that relic which was simply called (the) Veronica. Here it was the relic and not the saint that was called Veronica, a name which means "true icon". Only around 100 years after Ugo da Carpi's painting was there created a second representation of Saint Veronica, the colossal statue sculpted by Mochi for the pillar where the so-called relic is kept, (the fabric) on which no one is able to recognize any more the features of Christ.

But in Manoppello there is found a very fine Veil with the most vivid and expressive image of Jesus in all the world. No one knows how to explain the process by which the image has been formed on the Veil. The research conducted in part by a German Trappistine Sister, Blandina Paschalis Schlomer, and in part by myself, has determined four things:
1. The face on the Veil (of Manoppello) is able to be perfectly superimposed on the face of the Shroud (of Turin), and this on a scale of one to one.

2. The Veil with its face is none other than the Roman Veronica believed to be lost.

3. The face on the Veil of Manoppello is, together with the Shroud, the most important model for the depictions of Christ in the Christian East and West.

4. The Veil with the face of Christ could not have already arrived in Manoppello by 1506, but rather a little more than 100 years later."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May is the Month of Mary, Mother of the Holy Face

From Ecco tua Madre!, un Mese con Maria (Behold your Mother!, a month with Mary) by Stefano De Fiores, Citta' Nuova, Rome, 2007, p. 122.

"Let's be guided by Mary, example and teacher of contemplation, because her heart is a jewelery case which contains the mysteries of Christ and a mirror in which is reflected the multiform images of his face."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

In Manoppello this year the Feast of the Holy Face is Celebrated on the Feast of the Holy Trinity

This coming Sunday, May 18, will be the feast of the Holy Face in Manoppello, which is always celebrated on the third Sunday in May with great festivity, including a procession of the Image of the Holy Face to the parish church of San Nicola where it will remain overnight. This year it seems especially fortunate that this celebration will take place on Holy Trinity Sunday.

I am posting a few photographs provided to me by the courtesy of Paul Badde. The two photos which show the Holy Face in procession demonstrate the two distinct yet complementary sides of the image, which can be distinguished from one another by the dark, wound-like marks around the nose. On one side (the side considered the anterior which faces the church's convent choir) the upper wound is to the right of the nose, and on the other side (the side considered the posterior which is seen by the people during Mass) the upper wound is to the left of the nose. (Note: the majority of available photographs in general circulation are of the anterior side) In order to see these photographs which I have posted well, click on the photograph, you will be amazed.

Nevertheless many things regarding the beauty and mystery of the Holy Face are said to be revealed only during the procession of the Holy Face in the light of day.

Let us unite ourselves in prayer with the people of Manoppello this day of the Holy Trinity. Come Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Votive Mass in Honor of the Holy Face of Jesus Christ

Father Carmine Cucinelli, O.F.M., Cap., Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello provided me with this Votive Mass which is often celebrated in Italian by him and his fellow Capuchin friars at the Shrine. No doubt it will be celebrated in Manoppello this coming Sunday May 18, the third Sunday in May, which is the annual feast of the Holy Face celebrated with much joy and anticipation including a procession of the image of the Holy Face from the Shrine to the church of San Nicola in the historic town of Manoppello. I publish the Votive Mass here with the hope that, in addition to it being celebrated in the English language at the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello, that it will be made use of in other times and places.

Opening Antiphon

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I now seek. Do not hide your face from me. Be merciful to me and answer me.
(Ps. 27:7a,8,9a,7b)

Opening Prayer

Almighty God, Father of infinite goodness, who through the Holy Face of your Son, disfigured by his redemptive passion, make manifest your divinity to all in this holy temple; grant that aflame with love for you here on earth, we may come one day to contemplate you in the splendor of your glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading (Is. 52:13-15; 53:1-5)

A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah

See my servant will prosper, he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him, his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness, so will many nations marvel at him; and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

This is the word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm (Ps. 67:1-7)

Response: Let your face shine upon us, Lord.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,
that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.
God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Second Reading (1Pt. 3:8-15)

A reading from the first letter of St. Peter the Apostle

Beloved, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with a blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righetous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

This is the Word of the Lord.

Gospel Acclamation (Ps 89:16)

Alleluia! Alleluia!
Blessed the people who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.

Gospel Reading (Jn 20:1-10)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Prayer over the Gifts

God our Father, look upon us who carry the imprint of your only begotten Son, sacrificed for our redemption. Accept the gifts we offer you and make of us living bread acceptable to you. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


It is our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Holy Father, Lord God omnipotent and eternal.
Above all, it gives us immense joy and delight
to offer unto you our praise in this holy temple,
wherein, through your wondrous providence,
you give us the grace of venerating the marvelous imprint
of your Son's face, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sustain the piety of your children
and shower upon your holy people
the gifts of your fatherly and infinite love,
fruit of the redemptive passion of your Son.
Through him the angels rejoice
and eternally adore the glory of your face.
May our humble voices join with theirs
in their hymn of praise.

Communion Antiphon (Ps 4:7b,8)

Look upon us, O Lord, let the light of your face shine upon us. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. Alleluia!

Prayer after Communion

Strengthened by this Sacrament, may the light of your face, that brings us peace and fills our spirit with joy, shine on us, Lord, so that we may overcome the vanity of this world and come one day to contemplate you in the light of your kingdom, you who are Lord for ever and ever. Amen.