Friday, April 30, 2010

O Jesus Living in Mary

O Jesus living in Mary, come and dwell in your servants in the spirit of your holiness, in the fulness of your power, in the perfection of your ways, in the truth of your virtues, in the communion of your mysteries. Subdue our enemies, the world and the flesh, in the strength of your Spirit, for the glory of your Father. Amen.

"So closely are they (Jesus and Mary) united that one is wholly in the other. Jesus is all in Mary and Mary is all in Jesus. Or rather it is no longer she who lives, but Jesus alone who lives in her. It would be easier to separate light from the sun than Mary from Jesus. So united are they, that our Lord may be called 'Jesus of Mary', and his Mother 'Mary of Jesus'...The Incarnation is the first mystery of Jesus Christ; it is the most hidden; and it is the most exalted and the least known.

It was in this mystery that Jesus, in the womb of Mary and with her co-operation, chose all the elect. For this reason the saints called her womb the throne-room of God's mysteries.

It was in this mystery that Jesus anticipated all subsequent mysteries of his life by his willing acceptance of them. Consequently, this mystery is a summary of all his mysteries, since it contains the intention and the grace of them all.

Lastly, this mystery is the seat of the mercy, the liberality, and the glory of God. It is the seat of his mercy for us, since we can approach and speak to Jesus through Mary. We need her intervention to see or speak to him. Here, ever responsive to the prayer of his Mother, Jesus unfailingly grants grace and mercy to all poor sinners. 'Let us come boldly then before the throne of grace.'"

from True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary paragraphs 247-248 by St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Bishop of Lourdes Visits Manoppello

The Bishop of Lourdes Pilgrim to the Holy Face

by Antonio Bini

The bishop of the diocese of Tarbes-Lourdes, Monsignor Philippe Perrier, has visited the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello, accompanied by a delegation which included Francois Vayne, editor of the Lourdes Magazine and Doctor Alessandro De Franciscis, director of the organism which documents and investigates miracles which take place in the french city. The french bishop was welcomed by the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto Bruno Forte and by the rector of the Shrine, Fr. Carmine Cucinelli. At 10AM Bishop Perrier celebrated the Mass in French, remaining in prayer before the Holy Face. Among those present, unaware, were a small group of German pilgrims.
In his message he stated that he had "seen in the suffering Face of Manoppello the sufferings of the Madonna of Lourdes", inviting those present to "be worthy of this extraordinary treasure of grace". The visit has a strong symbolic value for the Shrine of Manoppello in fostering that ideal connection with the most visited Marian shrine of Europe which Bishop Perrier himself has recalled in his homily and in his inscription left in the guestbook of the shrine.

in the original Italian:


Il vescovo della diocesi di Tarbes-Lourdes, mons. Philippe Perrier, ha visitato il Santuario del Volto Santo di Manoppello,
accompagnato da una delegazione di cui faceva parte Francois Vayne, direttore di Lourdes Magazine e il dott. Alessandro De Franciscis,
medico responsabile dell'organismo di documentazione e constatazione dei miracoli che avvengono nella città francese.
Il vescovo francese è stato accolto dal arcivescovo di Chieti-Vasto Bruno Forte e dal rettore del Santuario p. Carmine Cucinelli.
Alle 10 mons. Perrier ha celebrato la messa in francese, sostando in preghiera innanzi al Volto Santo. Tra gli ignari presenti anche un piccolo gruppo
di pellegrini tedeschi.
Nel suo messaggio ha sostenuto di "aver visto nel sofferto Volto di Manoppello le sofferenze della Madonna di Lourdes", invitando i presenti ad "
essere degni di questo straordinario tesoro di grazia".
La visita ha un valore fortemente simbolico per il Santuario di Manoppello per quell'ideale collegamento con il più frequentato
santuario mariano d'europa che lo stesso mons. Perrier ha richiamato nella sua omelia e nella dichiarazione lasciata sul registro
degli ospiti."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Votive Mass in Honor of the Holy Face

Recently the prayers and readings for the Votive Mass of the Holy Face were posted on the official website of the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello. Here is the link:

It is also now possible to download the latest edition of
Il Volto Santo di Manoppello by going to and clicking on the photo of the publication's cover.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Mother of All Relics

A fresco depicting the link between the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Face of Manoppello. This fresco is found on a building close by to the Church of the Sacred Heart in Pinerolo the city where the Shroud was first publicly displayed in Italy prior to its establishment in Turin

Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J., professor of art history and iconography at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome has written an article in the most recent issue of Il Volto Santo di Manoppello the official publication of the shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello in which he gives a commentary on the place of the Shroud of Turin in relation to the Veil of Manoppello, and in the life of the Church. In not too many words this most qualified scholar is able to enlighten much that has remained hidden to even the most informed among us. But this commentary seems to me to be just a introduction to the volumes of history and science which he and other dedicated scholars are preparing to deepen our knowledge of both the Shroud of Turin and the Veil of Manoppello. May this knowledge lead to greater faith, hope and charity in all the members of the Church, and lead others to enter in. The translation, and any errors, are all mine.

"This spring, on the occasion of the pastoral visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Diocese of Turin, there will be an extraordinary exhibition of the Shroud. This cloth, so many times shown to the public and to the mass media, has as no other object in history been declared to be a forgery and every once in a while pointedly recognized as authentic. It is an object that acts almost like a living personality which questions and challenges all authorities, whether in the scientific community or those in the Church. In comparison with the relic of Turin which contains its mysterious markings, there does not exist any other object so meticulously studied by so many representatives of diverse disciplines with innumerable hours of direct experiments, utilizing minute pieces of the linen, or parallel experiments undertaken with similar substances in analogous conditions to those existing in the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem.

It is true that the ecclesiastical and scientific authorities show themselves to be rather hesitant to call it a relic. It is true that it is precisely the theologians of the Catholic Church who have shown and continue to show great difficulty in recognizing the authenticity of this relic. They do not want to admit that this linen was the burial cloth of the tomb of Jesus. The many hours of research and the not infrequent national and international scientific congresses concentrating on the object of the Shroud, instead, have forced the Italian lexicon to admit a new term, a new concept to indicate a particular discipline, not recognized until now, a science which is concerned with a single object, or rather, with a small family of objects, which is called sindonology. The scholars of this discipline by now call themselves sindonologists. Sindonology joins together representatives of very diverse disciplines, from archaeology to theology, from mathematical statistics to biology, from history to iconography, from forensics to topographical anatomy, etc. The discipline's small family of objects is made up of the relics, supposed or authentic, which were found during the morning of Easter in the tomb of Jesus or preserved from that moment by pious men and women through the centuries down to our own times.

Let's call them to mind: the nails (one of which is in the church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem in Rome along with the tablet containing the inscription which was fixed at the top of the cross), a great number of pieces of wood from the cross (the largest pieces being in the church of St. Peter in the Vatican and in the church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem) the crown of thorns (in the treasury of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris), clots of dried blood, (for example in the abbey of Weingarten in Germany), clothing steeped with bloody stains, the most famous, the veil which covered the face of Jesus to dry it and to clean it from blood (in Oviedo), the extremely fine veil which covered his face in the tomb (in Manoppello), the band which held the jaw in place (in Cahors in France), pieces of the bloody tunic (in Argenteuil in France), and, as the crown of all these objects venerated by the faithful, the Shroud of Turin.

More than a few saints have venerated the Shroud: St. Charles Borromeo, Don Bosco and the other Turinese founders, and then there are the Popes: Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II who have expressed themselves in favor of the authenticity of the cloth, but the veneration of a relic is the expression of a subjective attitude, of a private conviction in the Church which does not prejudge the authenticity, the historic truth, of the venerated object.

If the ecclesiastical authority and the Turinese scholars revel in the primacy of their relic, as we have said, they don't want to declare it as such with its own proper name. And they also don't want to admit the existence of some other possible "competitor", as in the case of the veil of Manoppello. The nails, the band, even the sudarium of Oviedo are allowed for. These specimens are clearly subordinate to the Turinese relic. They don't show the image, the individual face of our Lord. The veil of Manoppello is seen with skepticism by them and the majority of Sindonologists. Instead, both relics together constitute the true divine challenge to humanity that tends toward non-faith and that needs the theological virtue which is called hope. Both objects, the veil and the Shroud, can inspire both faith and hope, and in particular the latter virtue.

The Shroud became famous and a continuing object of argument from the moment that the lawyer Secondo Pia took the first official photo in the long ago 1898. If people were able to describe with precision the character of this photo, much of the discussion would be impossible, and the lack of foundation for objections would have been demonstrated right from the start. If the true nature of this photo is described, we find ourselves facing a great mystery that is illuminated only by the reality of the transfiguration and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

As the photographic negative taken of the Shroud showed itself and continues to show a positive photograph, the marks on the Turinese specimen that the human eye reads as the image of a man with the wounds that depict the passion of Christ must constitute a negative and be produced by a process at least analogous to that of a photograph. Physically, mechanically and optically such a process is described as a projection of a three dimensional object onto a two dimensional surface. For such an action there are always three necessary elements: 1. a source of some kind of energy which gives forth rays, 2. an object to project, 3. an element that directs the rays to make them converge in one direction. Only in this way can a perfect image of a body be created, projected onto a flat surface.

At least these three elements described above must be admitted for that body which appears as dead on the cloth and that must have been wrapped in the same Shroud. For pure logic we could also think that the image on the Turinese cloth could be a copy, the most perfect that could be conceived, of an object that corresponds to all the requirements so far described and also to many others able to be found with precise observations on the relic of Turin. If we do not admit the transfiguration of the body which was placed in the Shroud, that is the change of the matter into energy that maintains all its bodily properties, we are not able to explain and describe in a satisfactory manner the nature of the shroud's image. A new mystery is born from the fact that the face of the veil of Manoppello corresponds perfectly to the face of the Turinese relic. There do not exist two images in all the world which can be made to correspond like this if not copies of the same photographic negative or images made with the same stamp. The causing source of the images of Manoppello and of Turin must be the same person. Thus we have a fact which more than guarantees the authenticity for both relics. For there exist three images of a person that seem to be different but which perfectly correspond: the face on the Shroud, the face of Manoppello, and the superimposition of the two.

One can say that the second proceeds from the first and the third from both of them. Only in the trinitarian formula do we find the same reality: the Son proceeds from the Father and the Holy Spirit from both. Does there exist anything genuine which is more divine and more true? Thus, in my opinion, do the two relics together demonstrate their divine origin.

Regarding the Shroud and on the discussions around this extraordinary specimen there remains much more to be said. Here we do not have the space. One thing still needs to be said regarding the shroud's image for all those who think that one day there will come a more advanced scientific study which would be able to prove that it is a forgery, and that this cloth cannot testify to the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

So we add only one more observation. As the bodily impressions are found only on one side of the cloth and the energy of the rays must have come forth from within the body of the shroud, they must have come from a type of radiography, but this is not so. The image of the body is presented as if only the surface would have been the source of the rays without these also having illuminated also the internal part of the corpse. Here we are facing the greatest mystery, the greatest miracle. The only ones greater, according to the catholic faith, are the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the Assumption of the Virgin into heaven.

Not only does this touch on the principle of causality as in the case of miraculous healings, but even the principle of non-contradiction. The same energy must have the same effect in all directions on equal materials. But if the same energy has a positive effect only on one part of the same material and not on the rest, we are facing a contradiction, facing an extremely profound mystery that the human mind will never be able to illuminate, because every human thought and every construction of any instrument whatsoever cannot be brought about without the principle of non-contradiction, and this will remain so for all future times.

The reaction to the Turinese relic and to that of Manoppello will be the same: to not occupy oneself too much so as to not be forced to confront the mysteries of life, but the reaction of the members of the Church ought to be an attempt to enter into the mystery of the Christian faith by means of these two archaeological specimens. This is what we wish for with all our heart."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Once I was Dead, But Now I am Alive Forever and Ever

"Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld." Revelation chapter one

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book". Gospel of John chapter 20

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Book by Saverio Gaeta on the Holy Face of Manoppello in Relation to the Shroud of Turin

Thanks to Antonio Bini for alerting me to the publication of Saverio Gaeta's new book.

I had the joy of reading Gaeta's first book L'Altra Sindone (the other Shroud) published by Mondadori in 2005 soon after it was published. I hope to read this latest book as soon as DHL can get make it arrive. Needless to say, I pray each day that the books of Gaeta, and Paul Badde as well, will be available in English as soon as possible. And that soon a competent American author will add his own contribution to the understanding of the Holy Face among english speaking peoples. (God speed the work!)

Thanks to Antonio also for providing me with his short review of Gaeta's book which appears below in my translation.


L’avventurosa storia della Sindone segreta

Ed. Rizzoli, marzo 2010

The Enigma of the Face of Jesus

The adventurous history of the secret Shroud

published by Rizzoli, March 2010

An important book by Saverio Gaeta on the theme of the increasing interest regarding the Face of Jesus, brought about by the upcoming display of the Shroud of Turin. Gaeta, editor in chief of the most widely distributed Italian catholic weekly magazine Famiglia Cristiana and recent author of the best seller "Why He is a Saint" (on the life of John Paul II), builds upon and brings up to date the historical research on the legendary image of Veronica which is identified with the Holy Face of Manoppello. Also brought to deeper clarity is his thesis on the disappearance from St. Peter's of the Veronica on the occasion of the so-called "sack of Rome" of 1527, with interesting connections to the local history of Abruzzo which have never been brought out before.

His reading of the centuries old historical vicissitudes of the image seems to be linked also to the interpretation of the pilgrimage of Benedict XVI to Manoppello on Sep. 1, 2006. Interesting also is his explanation of the relationship between the Veronica and the Shroud, images which have often been confused for each other in the past.

The book's cover itself introduces immediately the visual relationship between the two images seemingly very different from each other, with a jacket cover in transparent plastic that shows the Holy Face visible from each of the two sides, while on the book's cover, serving as the base, is imprinted the face of the Shroud of Turin.

"Beyond all the historical, artistic and theological questions raised by every single detail... what remains" - affirms Saverio Gaeta in conclusion - "is the baffling and magnificent reality of the Holy Face displayed at Manoppello".

We have here a book that speaks for itself.

The author has also added his contribution to the numerous contributions of study and explication which have appeared in the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello, and which in these last few years has played an increasing role of documentation for Italian and foreign scholars involved in gathering and sharing testimonies and research on the relic. One can expect to see reviews and articles on this book in the most important publications.

Today the great Italian and foreign publishing houses have arrived, while it must be recalled that up until just several years ago the only publications on the relic were printed at the expense of the Shrine and had a distribution entirely local.

review by Antonio Bini