The Holy Face Novena this year begins on January 31st, and continues for the nine days preceding The Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on Tuesday, February 9th (or Mardi Gras Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday). Each days prayers will be posted for the novena and the Act of Consecration to the Holy Face will be posted on The Feast of the Holy Face. (All Novena prayers may also be found in the tab above.)
“I firmly wish that my face reflecting the intimate pains of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more honored! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me.” (Our Lord to Blessed Mother Pierina De Micheli)
Holy Face Novena Alpha-Omega Prayer and Act of Consecration to The Holy Face for ourselves and our families
Daily Preparatory Prayer
(to be said each day as you console the Holy Face)
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.
“All those who, attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. This splendor shall enlighten the depths of their soul, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance.” (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude)
Psalm 51: 3-4
Have mercy on me, O God in your goodness, in your great tenderness wipe away my faults; wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin. (Psalm 51:3-4)
O most Holy Face of Jesus, look with tenderness on us who are sinners. You are a merciful God, full of love and compassion. Keep us pure of heart, so that we may see Thee always. Mary, our mother, intercede for us. Saint 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 Our Almighty Father
Almighty Father, come into our hearts, and so fill us with your love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace you, our only good. Show us, O Lord our God, what you are to us. Say to our souls, I am your salvation, speak so that we may hear. Our hearts are before you; open our ears; let us hasten after your voice. Hide not your Face from us, we beseech you, O Lord. Open our hearts so that you may enter in. Repair our ruined mansions, that you may dwell therein. Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of your only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (St. Augustine)
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)
“Behold, O God, our protector, and look upon the Face of Thy Christ!”
On this infamous anniversary of the legalization of abortion in The United States, we reflect on the millions of faces which we will never see and the blindness of those who deny the humanity of unborn babies.
Unborn babies are not material to be used or blobs of tissue to be dissected and sold. We must recognize the humanity of the baby in the womb; we must look at their faces and see there the Face of Christ. Pope Francis has emphasized this truth, “Each child that is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted bears the Face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the culture of waste proposes! They cannot be discarded!”
Science and technology has made it possible to see this reality in an undeniable way, as shown in the ultrasound picture of the smiling baby in the photo above. They have a face and unique identity; he or she is created in the image and likeness of God! God has a plan and a mission for each unborn child. They are the hope of this broken world – if only the innocent unborn are able to live and grow to fulfill their part in His divine plan.
May they gaze on the Face of God and intercede for us before the throne of God that the horrors of abortion may finally be at an end. May Jesus, in His infinite mercy, remove the blindness from the eyes of those who support abortion so that, they, together with the millions of babies who have been killed in abortions, may one day together see God face to Face.
O Jesus, whose adorable human Face was formed and hidden in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary for nine months — have mercy on us!
A historic pilgrimage of the Holy Face has taken place in Rome, though few were aware of its importance or of the great spiritual significance of the quiet procession by devoted pilgrims carrying a replica of the Holy Face of Manoppello this weekend.
Rev. Daren J. Zehnle of the United States was present for the joyous event and has posted wonderful photos and a moving, first-hand description of the procession through the Door of Mercy in St. Peter’s Basilica to the Pieta, altar of St. Veronica and to the Church of the Holy Spirit for veneration of the Holy Face and the Rosary. Mass was offered by His Excellency the Most Reverend Georg Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and Secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. (Fr. Zehnle’s excellent post may be found here.)
Archbishop Georg Ganswain’s spoke these words in his homily at Spirito Santo Church. “808 years ago, for the first time, Pope Innocent III carried in procession the Holy Sudarium of Christ from St. Peter’s to Santo Spirito. It was the holy veil that shows ‘the human Face of God’, which Pope Benedict XVI will never get tired of speaking about; and ‘the living face of the Father’s mercy’ to which Pope Francis has dedicated this Jubilee Year. And also back then, in January of 1208, the Divine Face of God here in this church, was connected to the concrete mercy of men; this church which much later, in 1994, St. John Paul II dedicated to the ‘Divine Mercy,’ in honor of Saint Faustina Kowalska, whose relics we venerate here. The Polish Pope was also a visionary and once more we experience that here today.”
Devotion to the Holy Face is the antidote for the ever-increasing evil in the world. The greatest sins are those against God Himself: atheism, blasphemy, the profanation of the Holy Name and the Holy Day of Sunday. The importance of Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, in this Jubilee Year of Mercy cannot be over stressed. “Lord, God of Hosts, bring us back. Let Your Face shine on us and we shall be saved!” (Psalm 80)
“Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi!” (“Let all the earth adore you, O God and sing psalms to you”) (Psalm 65)
Homily of Archbishop Georg Ganswain at Spirito Santo
Dear sisters and brothers!
Sunday today is called “Omnis Terra” in the words of Psalm 65 that we heard at the beginning of the Mass: “Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi!” (“Let all the earth adore you, O God and sing psalms to you”). This Sunday was also called this eight hundred years ago ; and even then, as now, in all Catholic churches the Gospel of the wedding at Cana was proclaimed. Since then empires have fallen, swept away like autumn leaves; the Church has seen the succession of ninety popes; violent revolutions and wars have shaken Europe; fatal divisions have torn Christianity. So it seems almost a miracle the tranquility with which, in this Sunday’s liturgy, we sing today as then: Praise the Lord, all you nations!
With this praise, however, today we also remember the fact that here 808 years ago, for the first time, Pope Innocent III carried in procession the Holy Sudarium of Christ from St. Peter’s to Santo Spirito. It was the holy veil that shows “the human Face of God”, which Pope Benedict XVI will never get tired of speaking about; and “the living Face of the Father’s mercy” to which Pope Francis has dedicated this Jubilee Year. And also back then, in January of 1208, the Divine Face of God here in this church, was connected to the concrete mercy of men; this church which much later, in 1994, St. John Paul II dedicated to the “Divine Mercy”, in honor of Saint Faustina Kowalska, whose relics we venerate here. The Polish Pope was also a visionary and once more we experience that here today.
In fact, 808 years ago, in that very first procession, Pope Innocent III decreed that the holy image was not brought to the nobles of Rome, but to the sick pilgrims and the poor of the city, whose most important abode back then was this hospital of Santo Spirito. He also ordered that the papal chaplain, drawing from Peter’s Pence, should distribute three coins to each of the three hundred sick and the thousand poor who were invited to attend the ceremony and who came from all over the city: one for bread, one for wine and the third for meat. He also connected substantial indulgences to visiting the “true image” and for participating in its procession.
In fact it was an anticipation of the Holy Year, which only later, in 1300, was introduced to Rome by Boniface VIII. This all began right here!
From that time to the present modern age processions and expositions of the Holy veil have never ended. Soon there were countless pilgrims to Rome who wanted to contemplate the Face of God. Later, it was in one of these processions that Dante learned to know the Face of God. It is the Face before which he ends the “cosmic excursion” of his Divine Comedy, as Pope Benedict XVI said ten years ago, when he presented his encyclical Deus Caritas Est. It is the Face of the love that “moves the sun and the other stars”, as Dante wrote in the best known passage in Italian literature.
It is the love of God who rejoices in us as “the bridegroom to the bride,” as we have just heard in the words from the prophet Isaiah; and the strength of the Holy Spirit of whose various gifts St. Paul has once again made us aware in this church of Santo Spirito. And yet, nowhere else does this Spirit speaks more clearly and with more evidence as in the silent Face of Christ, before whom we are gathered here today.
Because “this is the vocation and the joy of every baptized person: to bring and give Jesus to others”, as Pope Francis said on January 3. And this is exactly what today is given to us – to become witnesses, in the moment when the good Capuchin friars of Manoppello here “bring and give Jesus”, in whose Face God himself shows his Face.
In conclusion I would add just one thing on the Gospel of the wedding at Cana, about which so many instructive things have been said: who, in fact, could still wonder that Jesus worked his first public miracle exactly in favor of marriage and the family which are in such danger today that Pope Francis has dedicated synods to each of these! Indeed, in this time of Christmas in which we are still, we can understand perfectly that first miracle as a necessary extension of the mystery of the incarnation of God. For it is only within a family that we become human! With a mother and a father and – if we are lucky – with brothers and sisters. For this reason Christian artists have always portrayed the Face of Jesus referring to his mother’s, and vice versa. Because if God is the Father of Jesus, His Face should and can only look like hers. And it is this most ancient Face that today in an almost miraculous way has returned to Santo Spirito in Sassia, that Face which seems to be almost identical to the Face of the Divine Mercy which has been venerated here for more than two decades.
It is a copy of that ancient original that Pope Innocent III showed the pilgrims and which for four hundred years was kept in Abruzzo, on the Adriatic, in an outlying area of Italy, which today for the first time has been brought back to where its public worship began. From here, countless copies brought all over the world the true Face of God that Christians knew. Precisely in this lies the deeper meaning of this moment. Before coming to Rome, the Holy Veil was kept in Constantinople, earlier in Edessa and even before in Jerusalem. It is not possible, in fact, that this Face could be the property, could be the treasure of anyone, not even of the Pope. It is the signature of Christians. Only we know that God has a Face – how and who He is. For this reason, the Face of Christ is the first, the most noble and most precious treasure of all Christendom, even more: of all the earth. Omnis Terra! Before this Face we ought to open ourselves again and again. Always as pilgrims; always to the outlying areas; and always having before our eyes one goal: that moment when we will be before him face to Face.
On New Years Eve, beneath the shadow of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Europe, about 1,000 drunk and aggressive men of Arab or North African appearance, surrounded groups of young women in order to molest, rob and rape. The young women, who no doubt felt they were safe in the company of friends, were separated by the “men” (the cowardly vermin who attacked those who are weaker) whose primary objective was to perpetrate violence and sexual assault, and to degrade and dehumanize the young women. A video soon surfaced, which originated from the attackers themselves, bragging about their rape of “a virgin” by several of the “men,” some of whom spit upon her as she lay on the ground beaten and bleeding, covered in filth.
To add to the humiliation of the victims, the mayor pointed a finger of blame at the women of the city. The police were blamed for failing in their duty to defend and protect. The men of Germany were equally blamed for not protecting their woman. While politicians avoided blaming the actual perpetrators, there were actually those who would blame God for not protecting the innocent from the wicked.
But it is God Himself who suffers. He suffers in the young women, made in His image, who were assaulted and spit upon. It is God Himself who is blasphemed, either directly or indirectly by those who have malice toward Him, by acts of hatred carried out in the name of their religion.
“You are no God who loves evil; no sinner is your guest. The boastful shall not stand their ground before your Face. You hate all who do evil: you will destroy all who lie. The deceitful and bloodthirsty man the Lord detests.” (Psalm 5)
It is not a coincidence that the violence took place in the shadow of the Holy Cathedral. It is also no coincidence that the attack was upon women. Satan hates “the woman” who is Mary, the Mother of God and directs his attacks upon on all women. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” (Gen 3:15) “When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.” (Rev. 12:13) Thus, all women are the special object of his hatred, so we see in our culture a flood of pornography, abortion, and degradation of women, not only by degenerate men, but even by other women.
So, what is the answer to this violence and contempt expressed in blasphemy against other human beings made in God’s image, blasphemy which is ultimately against the Face of God? Wringing our hands over the news and at the culture that has permitted the evil is not the answer. We are not entirely helpless and we have the means in our power to fight against evil: the opposite of blasphemy would be praise of God, the sole object of our exalted esteem, honoring and extolling His Holy Name publicly, to make reparation before the Holy Face of Jesus, who became man and whose Face can be seen, in His images, in our neighbor and in the Eucharist. Blasphemy can also be countered by honoring and reverencing the Virgin Mary, as He has given her the greatest honor and dignity by choosing her to be the mother of His Son, Jesus.
On February 9th, 2016, the “Feast of The Holy Face”will be celebrated. My parish, along with many other Catholic parishes, will be having evenings of Prayer and Adoration on this day. This feast day coincides each year with “Mardi Gras Day,” the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is an opportunity to make reparation for blasphemy by coming before the Face of Jesus to honor Him. Beginning January 31st, I will post each day the Novena to the Holy Face leading up to the Feast of the Holy Face and Act of Consecration. Please join in the Novena or read the prayers of reparation (here) if you are able. They are powerful weapons against those who would spit in the Face of God!
Eternal Father, turn away Your angry gaze from our guilty people whose face has become unsightly in your eyes. Look instead upon the Face of Your Beloved Son, for this is the Face of Him in Whom You are well pleased. We now offer You this Holy Face, covered with shame and disfigured by bloody bruises in reparation for the crimes of our age in order to appease Your anger, justly provoked against us. Because Your divine Son, Our Redeemer, has taken upon His Head all the sins of His members, that they might be spared, we now beg of You, Eternal Father, to grant us Mercy. Amen.