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

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Homily by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller for Omnis Terra Sunday 2019 at the Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello


N.B.: Scripture quotes as per RSV-Catholic (http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/biblesearch.asp)
Homily by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller
Manoppello, 20 January 2019

In Jesus' farewell speeches before his Passion, Jesus provides the Apostle Philip with an answer that brings us to the very center of our Faith. After Jesus had said: "If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him." (John 14:7), Philip wonders how one might be able to see God, "who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see" (1 Timothy 6:16). Jesus answers him: "He who has seen me has seen the Father."

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). In the divine person of the Son of the Father, Christ's eternal divine nature and his adopted human nature are united. Only through Jesus do we come to the Father, because He alone bridges the infinite distance of the creature to the Creator. "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5) He is the universal, divine plan of salvation made flesh, "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus, in his human nature, is "the way" by which "the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) were brought into this world.
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.

photo by Paul Badde

Even before the incarnation of the Word, the Son in the Triune God is the image of the being of God the Father, in the Greek words of the New Testament: "the character of his Hypostasis" (Heb 1:1). 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).
He, who through his word brought forth all creation, becomes a man like us, "tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15), which is what He came to deliver us from. "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. (Hebrews 2:14f).

photo by Paul Badde

We recognize this when we look Jesus in the eye and offer ourselves to His look at us without malice. God surrounds us with his infinite mercy and in his love he goes so far as not only to die for us, but to die our death. He bore the debt of our sins until death on the cross and even took them to his grave. Death no longer has any power over Jesus and us, who form one body with Christ. 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. 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.
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).
In Jesus Christ the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior has appeared and shone in this world (Titus 3:3f). In his face he looks at us and wants us to respond with the love within our heart. By believing we do not adopt a theory to explain the world. The Gospels are not abstract ideas or values clothed in beautiful stories. God really became man and stays with us. Jesus is an historic person. His resurrection from the dead really did happen. He has not risen into Faith but is recognized in our faith as the living Christ, the Son at the right hand of the Father. For no one can say, "Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:3).
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.

photo by Paul Badde

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).

Friday, January 18, 2019

Live Streaming on YouTube This Sunday January 20 of the Feast of Omnis Terra from the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

Photo by Paul Badde

Antonio Bini has just let me know that, on the initiative of the Shrine, there will be Live Streaming from the Shrine of the Holy Face on You Tube of the Feast of Omnis Terra this Sunday January 20.  The ceremony starts at 11am, Italian time, 6am on the East Coast of the USA and 3am on the West Coast. 

 Also, here is a video on the Holy Face shared with me by Paul Badde, which was just produced last week by Catholic News Service, the news service of the American Catholic bishops:  The video includes commentary by Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, Fr. Paolo Palombarini, Antonio Bini and Paul Badde.


Shrine of Holy Face of Manoppello January 3, 2019 (Photo by Brian Alves)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

In Two Weeks Omnis Terra Sunday to Be Celebrated at the Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello

Official announcement from the Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello with translation following

Basilica of the Holy Face – Manoppello
                                              Omnis Terra

On the second Sunday after Epiphany, known as Omnis Terra Sunday
Pope Innocent III in 1208 led a procession at Rome with the Holy Face from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Church of Santo Spirito di Sassia.  We recall this procession with the following program:

Sunday January 20, 2019

11am:  Holy Mass presided by His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller  , Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, together with Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, California, USA and with Most Reverend Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy

At the conclusion of the Mass there follows inside the Basilica a Procession and blessing with the Monstrance of the Holy Face

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Sudarium of Jesus on the Outskirts of Rome

article adapted from longer article which appeared in the November 2018 edition of Il Volto Santo di Manoppello the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello.  Additional text and photos are included in this posting.  Unless otherwise credited the photos are courtesy of Mrs. Daisy Neves.

At Rome, beyond the large modern freeway known as the Gran Raccordo Anulare which circles Rome, and just before the Prima Porta, in the Valle Muricana neighborhood, is the modern church and parish dedicated to Saints Elizabeth and Zechariah. The pastor Fr. Bonifacio Lopez, originally from the Philippines, is assisted by two priests. The parish territory is vast and numbers approximately 16,000 inhabitants. In May 2013 Pope Francis chose this parish as the first one to visit after his election. On that day he celebrated Holy Mass during which 40 children received their First Holy Communion. It was a huge celebration throughout the neighborhood!
Church of St. Elizabeth and Zechariah

Fr Bonifacio, or Fr. Ted to his friends, accompanied Capuchin Father Carmine Cucinelli, rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello, in 2015 during the Holy Face Mission to Canada, the United States and the Philippines, acting as his interpreter. Impressed by the enthusiasm of the faithful for the veneration of this image, he expressed a desire: "If I become a pastor , I propose to enthrone the Holy Face in my parish church ". Last year, in September 2017, the moment arrived. He was named pastor and wanted to keep his promise.
His new parish church's adoration chapel and stained glass windows still needed to be completed. In the central window, above the entrance portal, within the shape of a cross, Fr. Ted instructed artists to place the image of the Holy Face at the cross of the two arms, so that the faithful could better understand the meaning of the cross, where Christ has, yes, died, but then is also Risen. He is alive! And we are filled with joy.

Fr. Bonifacio "Ted" Lopez

Thus at the end of September, the Holy Face was imprinted on the glass and positioned in the plain sight of all. But Fr. Bonifacio also wanted the Face of Jesus of Manoppello to be contemplated from close up. Which place would be the most suitable? Given that a new tabernacle was to be placed in the chapel for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, he thought of placing it there above the tabernacle. The faithful who go to the chapel to adore the Eucharistic Jesus, gazing upon
the Holy Face, could thus be helped to also contemplate the human features of Jesus and make this adoration even more fruitful.

The Holy Face in the Adoration Chapel 

The proposal had the favorable opinion of his associates
and the date was set
for the enthronement: Sunday October 14, 2018. A copy of the sacred Image, provided and blessed by Fr. Carmine the rector of the shrine of Manoppello, beautifully framed, was ready to be permanently displayed for public veneration.
Fr. Carmine at the altar with Fr. Bonficacio displaying the Holy Face

Father Carmine, rector of the shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello presided over the celebration, with the parish pastor Fr. Bonifacio, and a host of ministers both great and small. The parish choir led the singing.

Courtesy of Il Volto Santo di Manoppello

First of all, the new Tabernacle was blessed and during the Mass a baby girl received the sacrament of baptism.

In the homily Fr. Carmine traced the story of the arrival of the Holy Face in Manoppello, following an itinerary that began at the tomb of Jerusalem, continuing to present day Turkey, then to Rome and finally Manoppello. More and more in recent years the hypothesis has come to be accepted that the Holy Veil can be identified with the Sudarium from the tomb of Jesus, of which the Gospel of John speaks: "As soon as John saw the sudarium which had been placed on the face of Jesus rolled up in a separate place, he believed in the Resurrection of Jesus".

Fr. Carmine delivering the homily (Courtesy of Il Volto Santo di Manoppello)

In 1527 after the sack of Rome a pilgrim brought the precious Relic to Manoppello in order to safeguard it from the hands of the ravaging invaders of Rome, entrusting it to a local Doctor who jealously guarded it in his care. Later it fell into the hands of a soldier who kept it for ten years. When he ended up in prison, his wife, in order to free him, sold the Holy Veil to a noble pharmacist who kept it lovingly for 20 years and wished to spread devotion to the Holy Face. Thinking that this would be difficult for him he gave it to the Capuchin friars, who had recently constructed a friary in the hills above the town, so that they might make the holy Image known to everyone. The friars since that time have promoted the sacred image through their preaching and through reproductions in the early years first with drawings, then with prints and more recently with photography and through television. In 1999 a Jesuit priest, professor of art history at the Gregorian University, Henrich Pfeiffer, announced to the international press: "The Roman Veronica has been found in Manoppello". This news caused thousands of people to flock to Manoppello: among them the faithful, journalists, scholars, the curious, bishops, cardinals and, in 2006, even Pope Benedict XVI himself. Studies and research also began. the Holy Veil was compared with the Shroud of Turin and when photos of each were superimposed on each other they revealed the same person. 1500 years ago this cloth was called an "acheropita", that is "not made by human hands". A mystery appears to us, to which it is good to inquire, not with curiosity, but with faith, that is to go beyond the image, to the Person whom this image represents, Jesus. Finally, the celebrant invited us to make an effort, to impress the face of Jesus in our hearts so as to show it to others by our good example.

The Mass continued with solemnity, with singing and with the offering of the gifts. The framed image of the Holy Face was blessed and enthroned in the adjacent chapel. At the end there were also testimonies, given by the artists of the windows and of the Tabernacle and by Mrs. Daisy Neves, of Bellevue (USA) who sponsored the enthronement of the Holy Face coming to this parish.

This was the second image of the Holy Face to be enthroned recently in a Roman parish. On November 11, 2014 at the church of Sant'Ignazio allo Statuario the pastor Fr. Jess Marano enthroned the Holy Face, the first ceremony of its kind in Rome in many centuries.
Shrine of the Holy Face in the church of Sant'Ignazio allo Statuario in Rome