The Extraordinary Blessing of Pope Francis “Urbi et Orbi”

“The waves of death rose about me; the pains of the nether world surrounded me. In my anguish I called to the Lord, and from His holy temple He heard my voice. (Psalm 18)

EWTN live-streamed video of Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi extraordinary blessing on March 27, 2020:

The Gospel from Mark 4:35-41 was first read:   

 On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

Pope Francis then gave a beautiful meditation on the Gospel.  In conclusion he said, “By His Cross we have been saved, in order to embrace hope…embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope. This is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope. Why are you afraid, have you yet no faith?  Dear brothers and sisters from this place that tells of Peter’s rock solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the Stormy Sea.  From this colonnade that embraces Rome, and the world may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace: Lord, bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid, yet our faith is weak, Lord, and we are fearful. But you, Lord, do not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again, ‘Do not be afraid.’  And we, together with Peter, cast all our anxieties onto You, because we know that You care for us.”  

Miraculous Crucifix of San Marcello
The Last Vision of St. John Bosco

After his meditation the Pope proceeded to the icon of Our Lady “Salus Populi Romani” where he prayed for several minutes before moving again to pray before the miraculous Crucifix of San Marcello. This was followed by prayers, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament just inside the door of St. Peter’s Basilica. The powerful image called to mind the last vision of St. John Bosco: The pope on the deck of a large ship in a stormy sea, with no land in sight, being attacked on all sides by smaller vessels and trying to anchor the ship between two columns rising out of the sea — one with the Blessed Sacrament and the other with Our Lady, Help of Christians. 

Pope Francis then proceeded out of St. Peter’s carrying the Blessed Sacrament, and with bells pealing, together with the sounds of sirens in the distance, he blessed the world, in the pouring rain, before a dark, empty St. Peter’s Square. The rain streaming down the side of the miraculous crucifix, recalling the blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ. Please, at least watch the blessing in the video, which begins around 54:54 minutes. One could not fail to be moved by such powerful imagery. This Urbi et Orbi blessing was like no other in history, and a decisive moment for the world to turn back to the Face of God.

Mother Angelica
and Jesus

And how very fitting, that this historic, spiritual event would coincide with the anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN. It was Mother Angelica’s “Yes” to God that made it possible for millions around the world to see and hear the humble pleas of Pope Francis, and to receive his blessing!

“And we, with our unveiled faces, reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; This is the work of the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) These are the words on Mother Angelica’s tomb.

2 Chronicles 7:14

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

We Have No Wine

UPDATE: March 27 –  Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi blessing in the pouring rain, before a dark, empty St. Peter’s Square.  May the Lord hear our prayers and turn these tears from Heaven into the wine of love, faith and hope for the people of the world! (Blessing is at 54:45)

In solidarity -The Cloistered “Advocata” Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.'” (John 2:1-3)

We have no wine. Our priests are offering Mass privately, but the faithful must learn to do without the Eucharist due to the pandemic. Catholics now find themselves at the beginning of a sacramental drought, and thus having to dig deeper in search of the “Living Water” by more frequent prayer and by turning to the Mother of Jesus, our advocate. She knows already what humanity is suffering. Mary immediately presents our need to her Son, “They have no wine.” She tells us, as she told the servers at the Wedding at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.” Mary always points to Jesus. She desires that we look at the Face of her Son, listen, and act, then Jesus will turn our water into wine.

Rather than turn to media and the endless drumbeats of despair, turn to Mary, our advocate, by saying more rosaries  contemplating the Face of Christ with Mary in the rosary.

“To contemplate the Face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the ‘program’ which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium…It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine also before new generations of the new millennium. Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His Face.” –Pope St. John Paul II

Making the Stations of the Cross, together with the Sorrowful Mother is another powerful means to contemplate the Face of Jesus in His Passion, together with Mary.

The Way of the Cross by Archbishop Georg Gänswein – Sophia Press

I can recommend The Way of the Cross, with beautiful meditations by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, which has just been released and may be ordered here from the Sophia Press website.

 

Advocata Nostra with golden hands and cross
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Salve Regina – Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!


Advocata Nostra sul Monte Mario – Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Listen to Pope St.John Paul II in the video below — This is what it is to have WINE!!!

 

Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus
Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk

Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)
Lord, God of Hosts, bring us back, let Your Face shine upon us and we shall be saved!
The “Living Face” of Jesus as it appears on the Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Prayers Offered for Liberation From the Coronavirus

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Pope Francis calls for 9 pm Rosary for protection from Coronavirus on March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph.
Detail, St. Joseph with the Child, by Alonso Miguel de Tovar

From Aleteia: “At the end of the general audience March 18, the pope said he is joining the initiative promoted by the Italian bishops to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary at 9pm (Italian time) on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.

Presumably, this initiative will gain ground across the globe, with each time zone joining in and creating a chain of prayer.”

“Every family, every member of the faithful, every religious community: All of us spiritually united tomorrow (Thursday) at 9 pm in praying the Rosary, the Luminous Mysteries”

‘We are led to the Luminous and transfigured Face of Jesus Christ and His Heart by Mary, Mother of God, health of the sick, to whom we turn with the prayer of the Rosary, under the loving gaze of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family”–Pope Francis

“Mary — Mother of God, and Health of the Sick, to whom we direct the Rosary, under the loving gaze of St. Joseph, Protector of the Holy Family, and our families — brings us to the luminous and transfigured Face of Christ and his Heart.

And we ask that he especially protect our families, in particular the sick and those who care for them: doctors, nurses, and volunteers, who risk their lives in this service.”  — Pope Francis 

The Pope also appeals for the 24 hours for the Lord initiative: click here for details  

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Prayers are being offered around the world for the end of Coronavirus.  Many churches, including the Vatican are live-streaming (may be seen below) the Mass for those who cannot attend Mass during the health crisis.

Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus
Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk

Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)

HOLY HOUR FOR FAITH, HEALING, AND PROTECTION FROM COVID-19

On Friday, Mar. 13 during the 3 p.m. “Hour of Mercy” Fr. John Paul Mary, MFVA,  led a Holy Hour  on EWTN television — which was live streamed, and may still be viewed above, or on facebook.com/ewtnonline, ewtn.com –  invoking Divine Mercy, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph in these troubled times. EWTN has been re-airing the Divine Mercy Holy Hour. Fr. John-Paul also recited a prayer written by the Archbishop of Chieti, Italy, Archbishop Bruno Forte for the liberation from the coronavirus pandemic which has gripped the world. 

 

Copy of the Holy Face Veil of Manoppello next to a Relic of St. Padre Pio

 

In tempo di corona virus

Preghiera per invocare la liberazione dai mali

Signore Gesù, Salvatore del mondo, speranza che non ci deluderà mai, abbi pietà di noi e liberaci da ogni male! Ti preghiamo di vincere il flagello di questo virus, che si va diffondendo, di guarire gli infermi, di preservare i sani, di sostenere chi opera per la salute di tutti. Mostraci il Tuo Volto di misericordia e salvaci nel Tuo grande amore. Te lo chiediamo per intercessione di Maria, Madre Tua e nostra, che con fedeltà ci accompagna. Tu che vivi e regni nei secoli dei secoli. Amen.

+ Bruno Forte  Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto

 The Holy Veil of Manoppello

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello
(photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

The origins of this miraculous image on a gossamer-thin veil, “not made by human hands,” of the Face of Jesus are a great mystery and gift of God. It’s existence is an invitation to enter more deeply into relationship with God by contemplating the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus in His Holy Face.  Devotion to The Holy Face is therefore necessary, so that the great gift of “Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello is not treated as a mere curiosity, but with reverence, love and gratitude.  May Jesus Christ draw all souls, by His Merciful Face, reflecting all the love and pains of His Sacred Heart, to Himself.  More about the Holy Veil of Manoppello may be found by clicking (here).

 

“This Mercy of God which has a concrete face, the Face of Jesus, the risen Christ.” –Pope Francis

Please pray that the light on the Merciful Face of Jesus, so darkened by the sins of the world, will shine upon us once more. “Lord, God of Hosts, bring us back. Let your Face shine on us and we shall be saved.”

Holy Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

2Chronicles 7:14

13.“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14. if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15.Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

Angelo Cardinal Comastri leads prayers live streamed from St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Veronica sudarium displaying the Veil of the Holy Face

Your prayers are an act of compassion. When a soul performs an “act of compassion,” Jesus leaves His image on the “veil” of the soul. In other words, while contemplating the Face of Jesus in an image, in the Word of God in the Scriptures, in a person made in the image and likeness of God, or above all, in the Eucharist, the soul places itself in the Presence of God. When we are turned completely toward the Face of God, through a daily face-to-face encounter in prayer–by the power of the Holy Spirit–God gradually transforms the soul into the “True Image” of His Son, Jesus Christ. As Pope St. John Paul II says, our hearts must become an “effigy of truth,” a “true icon.” Then our name too will be born from what we gaze upon. It will be “Veronica.”

 

 

 

Prayer, Penance and Procession

EWTN Holy Hour invoking Divine Mercy
Holy Face of Manoppello on the left — Prayer of Archbishop Bruno Forte recited.

Important Update:

HOLY HOUR FOR FAITH, HEALING, AND PROTECTION FROM COVID-19

On Friday, Mar. 13 during the 3 p.m. “Hour of Mercy” Fr. John Paul Mary, MFVA,  led a Holy Hour  on EWTN television — which was live streamed on facebook.com/ewtnonline, ewtn.com –  invoking Divine Mercy, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph in these troubled times.  Fr. John-Paul also recited a prayer written by the Archbishop of Chieti, Italy, Archbishop Bruno Forte for the liberation from the coronavirus pandemic which has gripped. the world. 

Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus
Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)

 

“This Mercy of God which has a concrete face, the Face of Jesus, the risen Christ.” –Pope Francis

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This may be the longest Lent on record. I have just read the shocking news that in response to the spread of coronavirus public Masses have been banned in Rome until April 3rd. What a desert the Church is entering into now — without the public sacrifice of the Mass!

In the past, during times of crisis in the world, the Catholic Church has traditionally responded with a greater call to prayer and penance, as well as public demonstrations of faith and trust in God’s infinite majesty and power, by participating in the act of procession.

Omnis Terra Procession of Pope Innocent II in 1208 carrying “the Veronica” Face of Christ (from “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia” manuscript 1350)

There is power in procession that terrifies the infernal foe and makes all of hell tremble. As Fr. Frederick W. Faber in his treatise on the Blessed Sacrament wrote:

“We process toward our heavenly home in the company of God.  Procession is the function of faith, which burns in our hearts and beams in our faces, and makes our voices tremulous with emotion as our ‘Lauda Sion’ bids defiance to an unbelieving world.”

detail of Face of Jesus on the Holy Veil from the precious manuscript "Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia"
Detail of Face of Jesus on the Holy Veil from the precious manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia”

An unbelieving world has reason to fear death. Edward Pentin, of the National Catholic Register has a fine article on the Church’s response to the crisis. In it he quotes Bishop Pascal Roland of Belley-Ars in France:

“The collective panic we are witnessing today — is it not indicative of our distorted relationship to the reality of death? Does it not show the anxiety-inducing effects of the loss of God?”

The Church’s response must be more, not less, devotion, in addition to the caring for the sick and suffering. Where are the calls for prayer, penance and processions? To it’s credit the Diocese of Rome has called for a day of fasting on March 11th, hopefully many will answer that call.  The world is not only unbelieving but publicly blasphemes God to His Face, and it is for this reason that He must be honored publicly. This does not necessarily mean a large crowd, a procession may be small but still public. Whether it is within the confines of a church or through the city streets, the procession is a public function of faith, hope, and love. It is an antidote to the poison disseminated by our culture which falsely asserts that religion is “private” and not something to be brought up in polite society or in the public square.  By solemn procession the Church loudly proclaims to all the world that Jesus is Lord!  Our help will not come through human means, but divine.  Humanity must turn back to the Face of Christ!

“Lord, God of Hosts, bring us back! Let Your Face shine on us and we shall be saved!”
Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello
Photo: Patricia Enk

 

Prayer to Our Lady Health of the Sick for the people of Rome
by Pope Francis

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

 

Lent – Preparing to Stand Before God’s Face

 

“Write this: before I come as the Just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy.” –Our Lord to St. Faustina

“Prepare to meet your Maker,” one cowboy said to the other. It was good advice. No one knows exactly when or how they will “meet their maker,” so we should always be prepared. It could be by illness, old age, or a garbage truck, but it is certain each person will one day come before the Just Judge.  The sixth beatitude proclaims, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” C.S. Lewis once said, “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”  Would you be prepared at any moment to come before the Face of God?  The Church aids us in this eventuality through the practices of Lent: fasting, penance, almsgiving, and taking advantage of the beautiful sacrament of mercy, Reconciliation.

 

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis once said, “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”  

 

It is not a coincidence that Shrove Tuesday, the day that precedes Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, is also the Feast of the Holy Face. Most people think of Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday) as a day of excess and indulgence in food and drink before facing the sacrifices of Lent. But the origin of the word “Shrove” is “to absolve.” Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday was a day to obtain absolution in the sacrament of Reconciliation, to purify your soul and prepare yourself to stand before the Face of God. The first step of that preparation is “to look in the mirror” and examine our conscience.

Jesus makes Himself our mirror – “He who never meditates is like a person who never looks in the mirror, therefore, not knowing that he is untidy, he goes out looking disorderly.  The person who meditates and directs his thoughts to God, Who is the mirror of his soul, tries to know his faults, attempts to correct them, moderates his impulses, and puts his conscience in order.” — St. Padre Pio

 

The “pure in heart” are promised that they will see God face to face and be like him.  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13: 12-13) Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God.

The Book of Job provides ample reflections for the purification and test of faith that a soul may undergo to be fit to stand before God. Few people will have crosses as heavy as Job’s. But despite his crushing physical and spiritual struggles, as well as his complaints to God, Job’s words in the end demonstrate the kind of repentance and the purity of heart needed to come into God’s presence and see Him face to face:

“I have heard of You by word of mouth, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore, disown what I have said and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

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A Blessed and Holy Lent to all

“Who shall climb the mountain of the LORD?  Who shall stand in His holy place?  The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely. They will receive blessing from the LORD, and justice from their saving God. Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the Face of the God of Jacob.” (Psalm 27: 3-6)

Feast of the Holy Face 2020

“Salvator Mundi” by Quentin Metsys, c. 1505

“Christ’s response, ‘Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father, lead us into the heart of Christological faith.’ ” — Pope Benedict XVI

The Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello, photo by Paul Badde/EWTN

The Act of Consecration to the Holy Face of Jesus

O Lord Jesus, we believe most firmly in You, we love You.  You are the Eternal Son of God and the Son Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  You are the Lord and Absolute Ruler of all creation.  We acknowledge You, therefore, as the Universal Sovereign of all creatures.  You are the Lord and Supreme Ruler of all mankind, and we, in acknowledging this Your dominion, consecrate ourselves to You now and forever.  Loving Jesus, we place our family under the protection of Your Holy Face, and of Your Virgin Mother Mary most sorrowful.  We promise to be faithful to You for the rest of our lives and to observe with fidelity Your Holy Commandments.  We will never deny before men, You and Your Divine rights over us and all mankind.  Grant us the grace to never sin again; nevertheless, should we fail, O Divine Saviour, have mercy on us and restore us to Your grace.  Radiate Your Divine Countenance upon us and bless us now and forever.  Embrace us at the hour of our death in Your Kingdom for all eternity, through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother, of all Your Saints who behold You in Heaven, and the just who glorify You on earth.  O Jesus, be mindful of us forever and never forsake us; protect our family.  O Mother of Sorrows, by the eternal glory which you enjoy in Heaven, through the merits of your bitter anguish in the Sacred Passion of your Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for us the grace that the Precious Blood shed by Jesus for the redemption of our souls, be not shed for us in vain.  We love you, O Mary.  Embrace us and bless us, O Mother.  Protect us in life and in death.  Amen. 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

The Sudarium Veil of the Human Face of God 

Holy Veil of Manoppello said to be the image of the Resurrected Christ
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Since ancient times a veil bearing the image of the Face of Christ has been venerated in the Church. How did we come to recognize this face as the Human Face of Jesus Christ?
“When Simon Peter arrived after him [John], he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.” –John 20:6-7

Scripture goes on to say that “the disciple” John, who had arrived at the tomb first went in after St. Peter, “and he saw and believed.” (John 20: 8)  What did St. John see that caused him to believe in the Resurrection? Perhaps the body was stolen. The cloths used to soak up the sacred blood? (The sudarium of Oviedo) That would be expected. The cloth now known as the Shroud of Turin?  The faint marks on the cloth could not be seen clearly, especially within a darkened tomb, and the image on the Shroud of Turin is that of Jesus in death. Perhaps what had caused St. John to believe was the “cloth that had covered his head,” revealing in a miraculous way the Face of the living and Risen Christ.

The Holy Veil of the”Holy Face of Manoppello” in Italy Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN
St. Veronica sudarium displaying the Veil of the Holy Face
We can look at ancient mosaics and paintings and immediately recognize the Face of Jesus. But why this particular face, one that bears signs of the Passion yet at the same time is a living face miraculously present on a veil?
Legends and traditions have varied through the centuries but the face is the same. The image was known by many names, but the veil came to be known as “the Veronica,” Vera Icon, the true image. (See Four Stories, One Face
Later, in the twelfth century legends sprang up about a woman who wiped the Face of Jesus on Calvary, who came to be known as “St. Veronica.”  The story of St.Veronica points to the deepest truth about devotion to the Face of Christ  —  which is that each act of charity, every act of compassion, will leave the imprint of the Face of Jesus in our souls, transforming us into His own Image.
Detail of the Veil of the Face of Jesus from the precious manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia”

 

Fresco of ciborium that existed in 708 containing sudarium of the “Veronic” True Icon

Pilgrims traveled great distances to see the relic veil of the “Veronica” at the Vatican. During the Sack of Rome, in 1527, it was rumored that the “Veronica” had been stolen, and another “Veil” had taken its place –it was not a sheer cloth on which the face of Jesus could be seen from both sides — but instead, it showed the face of Christ in death, with his eyes closed. The faithful, under pain of excommunication, were to return copies of the Veronica showing the living Face of Jesus. Devotion to the Face of Christ gradually dwindled. The “Veronica” was no longer shown publicly, except at a great distance.  However, the Face as it had been seen on the original veil could still be seen in the artwork of churches across Europe.

Detail depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the “Veronic” Veil.
Opusculum by Jacopo Grimaldi (altered date of 1618) shows a living face of “the Veronica Veil” on Vatican inventory
After the Sack of Rome, Opusculum of the Holy Face by Francesco Speroni inventory shows the face of a dead man.
Copy made of the later “Veronica Veil ” by Pietro Strozzi, Vienna, which looked nothing like the original “living face.”

Many centuries later, in 1849, a time of great crisis in the Church, Pope Pius IX asked that the darkened cloth, held at the Vatican be exposed for the faithful to pray and beg God’s mercy and help. After three days, the faithful were rewarded for their perseverance in prayer: a face, with eyes closed, appeared to glow for three hours on the greatly darkened cloth. This was known as the Epiphany Miracle. Copies were made at once by artists, and once again devotion to the Holy Face was renewed for a time. The Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was approved and prayers were offered before the Holy Face in reparation for blasphemy, sacrilege, the profanation of the Holy Name, and the Holy day of Sunday, as well as prayers for then end of atheistic communism, which was then just rearing its ugly head in the world.

"Holy Face of Tours"
Image venerated  after “The miracle of the Vatican” in 1849 – known also as the “Holy Face of Tours”
St. Therese

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face is most often associated with the “Holy Face of Tours,” the image which was promoted in France in her lifetime; in fact, the whole Martin family joined the Confraternity of the Holy Face.

“Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps. Ah, You know, Your sweet Face is for me Heaven on earth. My love discovers the charms of Your Face adorned with tears. I smile through my own tears when I contemplate your sorrows.”

“O Jesus, Whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with Thy Love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.” ==St. Therese

After the death of St. Therese (in 1897), the first photographic negatives of the Shroud of Turin could be seen thanks to the photographer Secondo Pia in 1898, revealing the face of a crucified man in death:

The Shroud of Turin

The sister of St. Therese, Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine), while marveling at the beautiful photographic negatives of the Face of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin, heard the voice of her sister St. Therese telling her,“Paint Him! Paint Him as He truly is!”

Drawing of The Shroud of Turin by Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine Martin, the sister of St. Therese)
Drawing of the Shroud of Turin by Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine Martin, the sister of St. Therese)

Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face, who was also an excellent artist, rendered a beautiful drawing of the Face on the Shroud of Turin, which won a silver medal in a Canadian exhibition.

Veronica’s Veil, Flemish 15th Century “Veronica” or “true image”

But what happened to the “Vera Icon”, the true image, the recognizable living face of Jesus on a precious sheer veil, as portrayed in this artwork centuries before?

Another image of the Face of Jesus fits the unique characteristics of the stolen miraculous “Veronica” veil of the Vatican — a sheer byssus veil with a living face — It is the Holy Veil of Manoppello. History throughout the centuries recorded what the original “True Icon” looked like.

Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

Although the Veil of Manoppello had been hidden away for centuries in the mountain village of Manoppello, Italy, it has been recently “re-discovered.” (Paul Badde has written about this in The Human Face of God: the Holy Veil of Manoppello) Pilgrims throughout the world are now able to see this “miracle of light” on a sheer veil which reveals the Face of Jesus from both sides.

Like the Shroud of Turin, the image is “not made by human hands,” and shows no traces of pigment. The former Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face, the Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese, believed the Holy Veil of Manoppello to be the sudarium veil — “the cloth that had covered His Head.” The Veil shows not only traces of the Passion but is also said to have recorded the first moment of the Resurrection — something so amazing that it caused Sts. Peter and John to believe that Jesus had Ressurected from the dead! Pope St. John Paul II, who dedicated the millennium to the Face of Christ, has said, “We cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One; He is the Risen One!”  The Holy Veil of Manoppello bears witness to the Incarnation, the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; “true God and true man.”  St. Padre Pio called the Veil of Manoppello “the greatest relic of the Church.”  

“It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine before the generations of the new millennium.  Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His FACE!”  – Pope St. John Paul II

While there are many beautiful images of the Face of Christ, the great gift of the Holy Face of Manoppello has been made known to the world in our time to give us hope in His Mercy, and His Peace in the midst of trial — to shine the light of His Face upon us – bringing light to the darkness of our world. If you cannot go to Manoppello as a pilgrim, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did in 2006, you can enjoy these incredible, beautiful photos of the Holy Veil by Paul Badde:

The sheer Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Hand behind the sheer Veil of Manoppello, “not made by human hand” clearly shows the miraculous nature of “Il Volto Santo” Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Gossamer-thin veil of Manoppello
Photo by Paul Badde
Holy Veil of Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Holy Face of Manoppello Veil, Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN
“Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN)
The Holy Face of Manoppello, (Photo: Paul Badde)
Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde
The Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello “the Living Face”
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

 

Prayer to reproduce the Image of God in our souls

Our Lord told Sr. Marie St. Pierre, a Discalced Carmelite Nun, from France, that the image of His Holy Face is like a Divine stamp, which if applied to souls, through prayer, has the power of imprinting anew within them the Image of God.

I salute You!  I adore you and I love you, O adorable face of my beloved Jesus, as the noble stamp of the Divinity!  Completely surrendering my soul to You, I most humbly beg You to stamp this seal upon us all, so the image of God may once more be reproduced in our souls.  Amen.

 

"Il Volto Santo" Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy
“Il Volto Santo” Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy

“All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image.” (2Cor 3:18)

 

St. Veronica, the model of reparation to The Holy Face
Hans Memling’s “St. Veronica c.1470-75  – St. Veronica, the model of reparation to The Holy Face
Click here to learn “What does it mean to be “a Veronica?”

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Happy Feast of the Holy Face!

May the Lord bless and keep you; may He make His Face shine upon and be merciful to you; may He turn His Countenance toward you and grant you His PEACE! (Num 6:22-27)
Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk

Holy Face Novena 2020 – Day Nine

Holy Face Novena – Day 9 

“Oh Savior Jesus, who did will that reparation should be as public and universal as had been the offense, penetrate us with the true spirit of reparation.  Give us the grace to love Your Divine Face, to make it known and loved by the whole world, in order that it may be to us a source of light and means of salvation.  Amen.” –Bl. Maria Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

(Detail) painting by Hans Holbein the elder. Photo: Paul Badde
Detail of painting by Hans Holbein the elder. Photo: Paul Badde

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Prayer to the Holy Trinity

The Man of Sorrows in the arms of the Virgin Mary, by Hans MemlingPrayer to the Holy Trinity

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

Ninth Day

Psalm 51: 18-21

For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice a

Altar of The Holy Face, St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York
Altar of The Holy Face, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York

contrite spirit.  A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.  In your goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, holocausts offered on your altar.

Sacred Face of our Lord and our God, what words can we say to express our gratitude?  How can we speak of our joy?  That you have deigned to hear us, that you have chosen to answer us in our hour of need.  We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted.  We know that you, in your loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of your fullness, the answer to our problems.

Mary our Mother, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Trinity

Sr. Lucia's vision of The Trinity at Tuy
Sr. Lucia’s vision of The Trinity

Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end.  Since you have made us after your own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts and all our actions may be always conformed to your most Holy Will, so that that after having seen you here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate you face to face, in the perfect possession of you forever in paradise.  Amen.

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Holy Feast and Act of Consecration

Our Lord told Sr. Marie St. Pierre that the image of His Holy Face is like a Divine stamp, which if applied to souls, through prayer, has the power of imprinting anew within them the Image of God.

Shroud of Turin
Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin

Prayer to reproduce the Image of God in our souls

I salute You!  I adore you and I love you, O adorable face of my beloved Jesus, as the noble stamp of the Divinity!  Completely surrendering my soul to You, I most humbly beg You to stamp this seal upon us all, so the image of God may once more be reproduced in our souls.  Amen.

“Living” Face of Jesus on the miraculous Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
Click here to learn more about “Il Volto Santo” Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy

“All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image.” (2 For: 3:18)

Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 25th will be The Feast of the Holy Face and The Act of Consecration to the Holy Face

“It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine before the generations of the new millennium.  Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His FACE!”  –St. Pope John Paul II

Kurt Cardinal Koch blesses the world with the Holy Face of Manoppello on Omnis Terra. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
May the Lord bless and keep you; may He make His Face shine upon and be merciful to you; may He turn His Countenance toward you and grant you His PEACE! (Num 6:22-27)
Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk

 

 

Holy Face Novena 2020 – Day Eight

Holy Face Novena – Day 8:

14th Century Crucifix, St. Peter’s Basilica

 Adorable Face of my Jesus, my only love, my light and my life, grant that I may see no one, except Thee, that I may love Thee alone, that I may live with Thee, of Thee, by Thee and for Thee.  Amen

“Gaze at Jesus, our model.  Let us copy Him; He is our example in all.  Let us study Him in all the moments of His Life,, and let us not be content with an intellectual study, but with love that penetrates the divine teachings, and let us transform them into our very being.”  –Bl. Mother Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

Daily Preparatory Prayer

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Eighth Day

Psalm 51: 16-17

O rescue me, God my helper, and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.

The Good Shepherd

Most merciful Face of Jesus, who in this vale of tears was so moved by our misfortunes to call yourself the healer of the sick, and the Good Shepherd of the souls gone astray, allow not satan to draw us away from you, but keep us always under your loving protection, together with all souls who endeavor to console you.

Mary our Mother, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to St. Peter

Denial of St. Peter by Carl Bloch
O Jesus, the divine look of whose adorable Face wounded the heart of Peter with repentant sorrow and love, have mercy on us.

O glorious St. Peter, who in return for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and sincere humility and thy burning love, was honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and in particular, with the leadership of the other apostles and the primacy of the whole church, of which thou was made the foundation stone, do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith, that shall not fear to profess itself openly in its entirety and in all of its manifestations, even to the shedding of blood, if occasion should demand it, and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender.  Obtain for us likewise a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church.  Grant that we may ever remain most closely and sincerely united to The Holy Father, who is the heir of  thy faith and of thy authority, the one true visible head of the Catholic Church.  Grant moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and meekness, the Church’s teaching and counsels and may be obedient to all her precepts, in order to be able here on earth to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed, and to attain one day in heaven to everlasting happiness.  Amen.

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

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Click here for NCR article “Liturgy of the Cloth” about the significance of the burial cloths of Jesus and the liturgy of the Mass.

The Mass of St. Gregory I by Robert Campin 15th Century

O Jesus, whose venerable Face is worthy of all reverence, veneration, and worship — Have Mercy on us!

 

Holy Feast Novena 2020 – Day Seven

Holy Face Novena – Day 7:

Sorrowful Mother of The Holy Face
Sorrowful Mother of The Holy Face, Shirburn Chapel England

“This novena which Jesus desires transforms us to correspond with His love, and thus unites us to the Divine Victim, offering ourselves on all the altars of the world to be with Him–true souls of reparation, in union with the Immaculate Virgin–the first Reparatrix.”  –Bl. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

 

Daily Preparatory Prayer

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Seventh Day

Psalm 51: 14-15

Give me again the joy of your help, with a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I may teach

"Behold the Man!"
ECCE HOMO! “Behold the Man!”

transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you.

Lord Jesus!  After contemplating Thy features, disfigured by grief, after meditating upon Thy passion with compunction and love, how can our hearts fail to be inflamed with a holy hatred of sin, which even now outrages Thy Adorable Face!  Lord suffer us not to be content with mere compassion, but give us grace so closely to follow Thee in this Calvary, so that the opprobrium destined for Thee may fall on us.  O Jesus, that thus we may have a share, small though it may be, in expiation of sin.  Amen.

Mary our Mother, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

"Lord, grant to your Church to stand like Your Virgin Mother, at the glorious Cross and all the crosses of all people to bring about consolation, hope and comfort." -- St. Pope John Paul II

“Lord, grant to your Church to stand like Your Virgin Mother, at the glorious Cross and all the crosses of all people to bring about consolation, hope and comfort.” — St. Pope John Paul II

 

Mater Dolorosa by Dieric Bouts, 1470-75

Prayer in Honor of Mary

Hail Mary, Daughter of God the Father!  Hail Mary, Mother of God the Son!  Hail Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit!  Hail Mary, Temple of The Most Holy Trinity!  Hail Mary, our mistress, our wealth, our mystic rose, Queen of our hearts, our Mother, our life, our sweetness and our dearest hope!  We are all thine, and all we have is thine.  O Virgin blessed above all things, may Thy soul be in us to magnify the Lord; may Thy spirit be in us to rejoice in God.  Place Thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon our hearts, that in Thee and through Thee we may be found faithful to God.  Grant, most gracious Virgin, that we may be numbered among those who Thou are pleased to love, to teach and to guide, to favor and to protect as Thy children.  Grant that with the help of Thy love, we may despise all earthly consolation and cling to heavenly things, until through the Holy Spirit, Thy faithful spouse and through Thee, His faithful spouse, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, be formed within us for the glory of the Father.  Amen.  (St. Louis De Montfort)

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

 

Pieta, with Holy Trinity and Blessed Mother, (Jean Malouel 1400-1410) Met Museum

 

 

Holy Face Novena 2020 – Day Six

Holy Face Novena – Day 6:

Click here to learn “What does it mean to be a Veronica?”

What are our sufferings when we think of those of Jesus?  Have we perhaps sweated blood?  Have we received blows and spittle, been scourged and crowned with thorns?…And what can we possibly give Jesus save a heart desirous of loving Him…to desire nothing save His Will?  — Bl. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli

 

Daily Preparatory Prayer

"Il Volto Santo" Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy
“Il Volto Santo” Holy Veil of Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sixth Day

Psalm 51: 12-13

A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence not deprive me of your Holy Spirit.

Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit
Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit

May our hearts be cleansed, O Lord, by the in-pouring of the Holy Spirit, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew.  Mary, the most chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit, intercede for us, St. Joseph, pray for us.

 

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

 

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel *

(Click here for more about St. Michael and the Holy Face)

“Who is like God?” St. Michael holding high the Face of Jesus (Sculpture by Cody Swanson)

O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy, for the conservation and protection of the honor and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of our salvation; come, we pray Thee, to our assistance, for we are continually besieged with such great perils by our enemies, the flesh, the world and the devil; and as Thou wast a leader for the people of God through the desert, so also be our faithful leader, and companion through the desert of this world, until Thou conduct us safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we are all exiles.  Amen.  (St. Aloysius)

Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be.

O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3 times)

St. Michael, sculpture by Cody Swanson, Old St. Patrick’s New Orleans (photo: Patricia Enk)

*[St. Michael, whose battle-cry is “Who is like God?” is the Patron of the Arch-Confraternity of The Holy Face, which was canonically erected in the Chapel of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of New Orleans by Archbishop Perche in 1883, the first in The United States. From that humble oratory, devotion to The Holy Face spread throughout the Americas.