by Antonio Bini
Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household of Pope Francis and personal secretary to Pope Benedict XVI, made a private visit last Tuesday October 27 to the shrine of the Holy Face, accompanied by two religious. "It was an unannounced visit - which took us by surprise" - relates Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, Rector of the Shrine - "The Archbishop's visit made us especially happy because it was actually a return visit."
|Fr. Carmine, Msgr. Georg and Sr. Petra-Maria|
In fact, Msgr. Georg, as he is commonly known in Italy due to the complexities of his surname, came to Manoppello, accompanying Benedict XVI on the occasion of the historic papal pilgrimage of September 1, 2006. Msgr. Georg's visit fuels the hypothesis of a possible future visit to the Shrine by Pope Francis during the upcoming special Jubilee Year of Mercy. Advance notice of an invitation of this kind had been shared with the Capuchin friars of Manoppello by the Capuchin Minister General, Fr. Mauro Johry, during his visit to Manoppello in June of this year, accompanied by the Capuchin Provincial of Abruzzo, Fr. Carmine Ranieri. (Cf. http://holyfaceofmanoppello.blogspot.com/2015_07_01_archive.html)
Here it seems appropriate to remember that Pope Francis' Bull of Indiction announcing the special Jubilee "Misericordiae Vultus" begins by calling to mind the face of Christ: "Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's Mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith." https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html
|Fr. Paolo, Fr. Carmine and Msgr. Georg|
illustrates the relationship of the Holy Face in continuity with the images of Veronica and the Shroud of Turin. An actual size reproduction of the Shroud has recently been included in the exhibition. Before leaving Manoppello Msgr. Georg signed the guest book of the Shrine.