by Antonio Bini
On January 19, 2020, coinciding with the second Sunday after Epiphany, the ancient rite of Omnis Terra will be repeated in Manoppello. The celebration will be presided over by the Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, who has twice visited the Shrine of the Holy Face. Of particular note was his presence in Manoppello on September 18, 2016 on the occasion of the final meeting of the 14th plenary session of the Joint Commission for theological dialogue between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. Cardinal Koch presided over the Catholic delegation. The Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri was also present for the occasion.
|Archbishop Forte, Cardinal Koch and Cardinal Sandri at the Basilica of the Holy Face on Sept 18, 2016|
The feast of Omnis Terra has a strong symbolic significance, recalling the ancient procession established by Pope Innocent III in 1208, during which the Veronica was solemnly carried from Saint Peter's Basilica to the nearby hospital and church of Santo Spirito in Sassia.
The rite was re-instituted on January 16, 2016 with a pilgrimage from Manoppello to Rome. A copy of the Holy Face, enclosed in an ancient silver reliquary, was venerated on January 16 and 17 by a multitude of people in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. On January 16 there was the presence of Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household and on January 17 the Lebanese Archbishop Edmond H. Farhat, Canon of Saint Peter's Basilica, who has since passed away.
|Archbishop Ganswein at Feast of Omnis Terra 2016|
|Father Carmine Cucinelli, OFM, Cap., Archbishop Farhat and Mons. Ciani at Feast of Omnis Terra 2016|
In 2017 and 2018 the rite was repeated in Manoppello, with celebrations presided over by Msgr. Americo Ciani, Canon of St. Peter's.
|Msgr. Ciani at Feast of Omnis Terra 2018|
The 2019 edition saw the presence of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore J. Cordileone and the local ordinary, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Bruno Forte.
|Archbishop Forte, Cardinal Muller and Archbishop Cordileone at Feast of Omnis Terra 2019|
The solemn celebrations concluded with a procession inside the Basilica and outside with the blessing in the plaza.
|Archbishop Forte and Archbishop Cordileone at the Feast of Omnis Terra 2019|
The presence of bishops and cardinals, and also that of canons of Saint Peter's Basilica, as well as the particular significance of some notable homilies, https://holyfaceofmanoppello.blogspot.com/2016/01/archbishop-georg-gansweins-homily-at.html
has made the rite an implicit testimony as to how much the awareness has grown, within the hierarchy of the Church, of the Veronica being identified with the Holy Face which is safeguarded and venerated in Manoppello.