|Blessing with Holy Face by Cardinal Kurt Koch assisted by Fr. Paolo Palombarini (photo by Paul Badde)|
WE ALWAYS DESIRE THE FACE OF THE LORD IN THE DEPTHS OF OUR EXISTENCE
Cardinal Kurt Koch presided over the rite of Omnis Terra at the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello
by Antonio Bini
Today the ancient rite of Omnis Terra was once again memorialized at the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello. This is the rite whose establishment in 1208 coincided with the beginning of the public cult of the Veronica, which was solemnly carried in procession by the canons of Saint Peter's, accompanied by the pope and cardinals, from St. Peter's Basilica to the nearby hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia.
The rite was revived in 2016, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, returned to Manoppello for the third time and presided over the celebration.
Many people filled the Manoppello Basilica despite a cold and rainy day. Present were two television networks, the K-TV, which broadcast the celebration live, and EWTN.
|photo by Antonio Bini|
Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, OFM, Cap., rector of the Shrine, began the celebration with a brief introduction of the cardinal, recalling his previous visits and in particular the Orthodox Divine Liturgy of September 16, 2016, which represented an extraordinary unifying moment of the church of Rome with the Orthodox churches in the common veneration of the Holy Face.
During the homily, Cardinal Kurt Koch stated that "Jesus Christ is the authentic testimony that God, for the Christian faith, is not a God far from the world, and also that He is not simply a philosophical hypothesis on the origin of the cosmos, but a God who has shown us his true face, thus giving us his final word and has drawn near to us with his complete and invincible word of love. "
|Cardinal Koch delivering the homily (photo by Antonio Bini)|
A reference to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Manoppello on September 1, 2006 was inevitable: "We are invited to venerate this image and seek the face of God as Pope Benedict XVI - during his pilgrimage to Manoppello - recommended:" Seeking the face of the Lord must be our desire, the desire of all Christians; it is we who are looking for his face at this moment ".
|Pope Benedict XVI on September 1, 2006|
And again: “Our life as Christians consists in the fact that we always desire the face of the Lord in the depths of our existence and that this desire is not in vain because Christianity gives us the beautiful message that God has a wonderful name and a loving face. This shining brilliance from the face of God is the blessing we need and ask for in the celebration of the Eucharist. In it the Lord who looks at us with his face of boundless love and presents himself as the bread of life which is spiritual nourishment along the way of eternity, in which we will praise and adore the face of God without end. "
|Photo by Paul Badde|
At the end of the celebration of the Mass, there followed the procession with the Holy Face inside the Basilica, with the central doors open. The sacred image was placed on the altar for the veneration of the faithful. The cardinal's blessing ended the celebration.
|Photo by Paul Badde|
At the very same time, Pope Francis, during the Angelus today at the Vatican, also urged the faithful to contemplate "an icon of Christ, a "holy face". see https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-to-know-christ-better-contemplate-his-holy-face-50535
The 2020 edition at Manoppello concludes a five-year re-enactment of the ancient rite of Omnis Terra, which has so far seen the presence of Georg Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household, the canons of St. Peter Edmond H. Farhat and Americo Ciani, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore J. Cordileone, as well as the Archbishop of Chieti, Bruno Forte and the Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Kurt Koch.
During this period cardinals, bishops and canons of St. Peter have come annually to Manoppello attracted by the mystery of the Holy Face, even if by different reasoning, but always placing themselves in continuity with the rite instituted by Innocent III who recognized in the Veronica "the universal face of God become man, which encompasses both the dimension of his suffering and the promise of his resurrection "(Gerhard Wolf, 2000).
At the end of the solemn celebration, Cardinal Koch congratulated Prof. Nicola Costantini director of the choir of the Basilica as well as the members of the choir. Present as always was the author and journalist Paul Badde, together with other scholars from Germany René Udwari and Dirk Weisbrod.
Before leaving Manoppello the Cardinal received a precious icon of the Holy Face as a gift donated by Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlòmer and a copy of the book on the life of Fr. Domenico da Cese written by Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner. Bidding farewell he thanked Fr. Carmine Cucinelli and the Capuchin community for their hospitality.
|Fr. Carmine Cucinelli presenting to Cardinal Koch a copy of the Holy Face done by Sr. Blandina (photo by Antonio Bini)|
|Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner presenting Cardinal Koch with a copy of her biography of Padre Domenico da Cese|
(photo by Antonio Bini)