“Do you see how I suffer? Yet, very few understand me. Those who say they love me are very ungrateful! I have given my HEART as the sensible object of my great LOVE to men and I give my FACE as the sensible object of my sorrow for the sins of men. I wish that it be venerated by a special Feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the feast be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me, joining together and sharing in my sorrow.” –Words of Our Lord to Bl. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli
At the time that Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli was beatified in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI noted “her extraordinary devotion to the Holy Face of Christ.” Archbishop Angelo Amato, who presided over the beatification at St. Mary Major remembered Bl. Pierina for “a concrete sign” she left in history of the Triune God and her “invitation to all people to see the attraction of Divine Beauty.”
Bl. Mother Pierina was born in Milan, Italy, in 1890. She had mystical experiences since her childhood. She became a Daughter of the Immaculate Conception Nun and was sent to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1915, then returned to Italy in 1921. In 1936, during night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Friday of Lent, she received a messages from Our Lord and the Blessed Mother, telling her to spread devotion to His Holy Face. At that time she was told to have medals made with the image of the Face of the Shroud of Turin on one side and a radiant Host on the other. The words on the medal read, “Illumina Domine Vultum Tuum Super Nos” (“May, Lord, the light of Your Countenance shine upon us”) on the front and “Mane Nobiscum Domine”(Stay with us Lord”) on the reverse.It was this medal of the Holy Face that inspired Pope St. John Paul II to dedicate the millennium to the Holy Face of Jesus.
The Blessed Mother also spoke to Mother Pierina about the Holy Face Medal: “Listen carefully and refer everything to Father: This Scapular [or medal] is an armour of defence, a shield of strength, a pledge of mercy which Jesus wishes to give to the world in these times of lust and hatred against God and His Church. There are very few true apostles. A divine remedy is necessary, and this remedy is the Holy Face of Jesus. All who shall wear a Scapular [or medal] like this and make, if possible, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday in reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion and is still receiving in the Holy Eucharist every day,
– will be strengthened in the Faith, and will be made ready to defend it,
– will overcome all difficulties, internal and external
– and they will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son.”
The Blessed Mother also requested the sanctification of Tuesdays by making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and that a special feast be instituted in honor of the Holy Face on “Shrove Tuesday” which is the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. On that day“we should make expiation for our own sins and the sins of others who dishonor the Sacred Face of Jesus by their ingratitude and sinful lives.”
Our Lord told Mother Pierina:
“By my Holy Face, you will obtain the conversion of numberless sinners. Nothing that you ask in making this offering will be refused you. According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, I will take care of yours, which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint upon it My Image, and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the Baptismal Fount. I promise personal and spiritual protection to all who venerate this (Holy Face) medal.”
To obtain the permission and funds to have the medal cast was very difficult for Bl. Pierina, but, miraculously, she found on her desk an envelope with the exact amount of the bill, 11,200 lire. Her biography stated that “The evil spirit showed his chagrin and rage at the medals by flinging them down and burning the pictures of the Sacred Face, and beating Sister Pierina savagely.” The Holy Face medal became famous during World War II for its miracles and countless spiritual and temporal favors.
Our Lord referred to the work of reparation to the Holy Face as“The most beautiful work under the sun!”which He revealed as being destined to be the means of defeating atheistic Communism and restoring peace to the world.
Bl. Mother Pierina implored her sisters to make this novena, preceding the Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday, with all the fervor of their hearts.Please join in this year’s Holy Face Novena, which will be posted each day on this site (and may also be found on the Novena tab above), beginning February 19 and continuing to the 27th. The Feast of the Holy Face for this year is Tuesday, February 28.(Locally, in Madisonville, Louisiana, St. Anselm Parish is inviting all to an evening of Adoration, Sacred Music, Prayers, and Benediction in honor of the Holy Face of Jesus, with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 6:00p.m. to 8:30 p.m. We will be offering free Holy Face medals until they run out.)
Our Lord’s words to Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli:
“No one gives me a kiss of love on My Face to make amends for the Kiss of Judas.”
“I wish that my Face, which reflects the intimate sorrow of my soul, and the suffering and love of my Heart, be better honoured. He who contemplates me consoles me.”
“Oh Savior Jesus, who didst 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 Thy 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. ” ~ Prayer of Blessed Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli
The beauty of the glory of the Face of God is reflected in the mountains surrounding the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello in the days leading up to the historic “Omnis Terra” feast and procession. (Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer took this breathtaking photo of the Sanctuary and hills covered in pure white snow and a beautiful rainbow.) On the second Sunday of Epiphany, January 15, 2017, the Basilica of the Holy Face established the first new feast and procession, making it the third on the calendar of the Sanctuary, since the year of 1712.
The “Omnis Terra” (All the Earth) procession in honor of the Holy Face had its beginning in 1208 when Pope Innocent III processed with the Veil of the Holy Face from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to Spirito Santo church and hospital, giving alms to the poor and the sick along the way. It was very fitting then that Our Lord’s Holy Face should be specially honored by a new feast and procession at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello on this same Sunday.
Journalist Paul Badde, who loves the Holy Face of Manoppello and has written so well about the rediscovery of this Holy Veil of the Face of Jesus, was present for the sacred occasion and related the following details of the day:
“It was as if the sky had opened a window over Manoppello for exactly that day. It had been snowing all the time before, then on Friday a rainbow appeared. On Saturday it was immaculately blue. On Sunday, Omnis Terra, the clouds had come back. And on Sunday night Manoppello was covered with snow again. Liturgy of the Eucharist and the procession with incense, candles and beautiful music by the choir of Maestro Cosantini was so noble and “degno” [worthy] that it couldn’t have been performed more nobly in Saint Peter`s in Rome.
The homily of Don Americo [Mons. Americo Ciani] was absolutely powerful and very clear with great parts he added by heart with great enthusiasm.
Before the procession and benediction a prayer by Padre Carmine [Capuchin Rector of the Sanctuary] for all the victims of the earthquakes was said, then a beautiful new litany of the Holy Face by the absent Sr. Petra Maria.”
Mons. Americo Ciani, Canon of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, was presider for the Liturgy of the Eucharist and gave the beautiful homily (translation of the homily by Mr. Raymond Frost below). Mons. Ciani was formerly a judge of the Roman Rota, the highest judicial office of the Church, from the year 2000 to 2009. As a canon, Mons. Ciani was also one of the very few persons to have displayed the famous reliquary of Pope Urban the VIII in St. Peter’s Basilica at the balcony over the Veronica altar during Passion Week.
(Some may also recall Monsignor Ciani from the Catholic New Agency article “Willy’s Story-the Homeless Man Buried at the Vatican” on Willy Hereteer, a pious homeless man who lived on the streets near St. Peter’s Basilica and was befriended by Mons. Ciani and Paul Badde.)
Manoppello Feast of the Holy Face January 15, 2017 Omnis Terra Sunday
(homily of) Monsignor Ciani
We are commemorating that most ancient procession which the great pontiff Innocent III desired in 1208 during which he had carried for the first time the Holy Sudarium of Christ from the Basilica of St. Peter to the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. It was a foretaste of the Holy Years, the first of which was decreed by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300. On that memorable occasion the numerous faithful would have been able to contemplate the Holy Face impressed on the mantilla [veil] of Saint Veronica. The Holy Relic, preserved in the patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, disappeared in 1527 during the Sack of Rome.
We have repeated the same solemn procession with the Holy Face, preserved here in Manoppello, from the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican to the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, in January 2016, where we celebrated the Holy Mass, presided by Archbishop Monsignor Georg Gänswein and a second one presided by Archbishop Monsignor Edmund Farhat, who just a few days ago has left us to return to the House of the Father.
Here we are gathered to contemplate the Face of God, who became man in His Son Jesus. This precious relic is “the human Face of God”, which since 1636 has been jealously cared for here at Manoppello and venerated by Pope Benedict XVI on September 1, 2006, a good 479 years later, when he knelt before that which had been the most precious treasure of the Popes.
From the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John, “No one has ever seen God,” the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. On the Face of Christ shines the majesty of God, who in His turn God has shown Himself under the form of a man.
Let us fix then our gaze upon the Face of the Son of God made man.
The image belongs to our everyday life. We are immersed in the culture of images, in private and in public.
With how much care we display the photos of our loved ones! Go into the rooms of young people, the walls of which are an exposition of images of leaders, from the world of fashion, of sport, of singers, etc. Go silently into cemeteries, how many images to remember loved ones! The list would be too long, and it’s not necessary for us to go on about it.
The image speaks louder than the word, in fact the word passes but the image remains. The Church in addition to place, to gesture, to word, to song, has utilized the image, from the beginning she has created a treasury of images to communicate, to evangelize., it is the “Bible of the poor”.
The word passes, the image remains and can be admired, contemplated by everyone and in all kinds of circumstances. Word and image speak together in the Church.
We are gathered here to contemplate this Image, the Holy Face, which is the Face of God who died and is risen, Jesus Christ, Son of God, He who is Himself God.
The Holy Bible, especially in the Psalms, touches on the theme which today is for us so dear: “The Face of God”, the seeking of the Face of God, the desire to see the Face of God, and the invocation to see the Face of God.
From Psalm 27: Confidence in God in times of danger: “My heart repeats your exhortation: Seek my face! Your face, O Lord, do I seek. O Lord, do not hide your face from me.”
Psalm 31:16 “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love”.
Psalm 88:15 “Why O Lord do you cast me off, why do you hide your face from me?”
Psalm 102:3 “Do not hide your face from me, in the day of my agony, turn your ear towards me. When I call upon you, respond to me quickly Lord.”
Psalm 105:3-4 “ Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice, Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”
Psalm 119:135 “Make your face shine on your servant, and teach me your statutes”.
The problem which today torments us, is precisely fear and terrorism!
My beloved this sublime truth consoles us: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom should I be afraid?”
The psalm exhorts us to a solid hope: “Hope in the Lord, be strong, let your heart take courage, and hope in the Lord.”
All of us, whether small or great, need to cast out fear, to cast it far away from us, to succeed in controlling it and in conquering it.
The Face of God manifested itself in the Face of His Son Jesus Christ, born of Mary of Nazareth. God made Himself one of us, went about doing good, gave Himself for us and for our sins, and to make us His people.
Let our desire to see Jesus be as strong as those pagans who asked the Apostle Philip: “We want to see Jesus” and as Zacchaeus, the publican, who “wanted to see Jesus”, and climbing up a tree, because he was short of stature, precisely so that he could see Jesus. Jesus passed by, looked up and called him by name: “Zacchaeus, come down, today I wish to come to your house”. And from that encounter came the miracle of the conversion of Zacchaeus.
Our constant prayer is the commitment: “I want to see your Face”.
History is not ensnared in a blind alley, closed off from hope. Our society today is lost, suffers from nightmares, because it has lost “the Face of God”. It does not perceive the ways of God in history.
God the Father has sent His Son Jesus among us. He is the youthfulness and the freshness of history. Jesus is the Son of God, of the God that is the joy of our youth. For over 2000 years God has shown His face to the world by the Incarnation of His Son Jesus, from whom beauty and richness has poured out security, above all for those of us who need security: the poor, the oppressed, the “least ones”, because He “ will judge with justice the poor and with equity the oppressed”. So that humanity, turned toward the presence of Christ, will be able to breathe deeply.
To judge how things are going, today, one might think that Christ is pretty much just a dream. Christ renews us and make us true. We need purity and to be purified. Jesus has come to accompany us, to put Himself at our disposition. He comes. Jesus in us and we breathe liberty.
In Jesus we know where we come from, who we are and where we are going: we who can accompany him, we who have listened to him, we have the power to become sons of God, we are a “new race”, created by God and by Him regenerated in Christ the Lord, Wisdom of the Most High, Word of God, is “the true light which enlightens every man”. He is the Wisdom of God that became love and the love became light.
Here is the tragedy of yesterday and today: “He came into the world but the world did not recognize Him. He came to his own but his own did not receive Him.”
And our struggle continues: It is the mess in which we find ourselves still caught up in (“How long, O Lord? When will you return and finally liberate us?”) Let us repeat with faith “Come Lord, do not delay”. Today we cling to Jesus and tomorrow we run away from Him.
We need to enter more vividly into the mystery of Christ.
All of us, fragile and sinners, we can take a deep breath, a liberating breath, and even a cry of liberty and hope. Slaves of sin, we can resist sin, we can defeat it, because Jesus has come and will always remain with us, He who “opens the eyes of the blind, sets prisoners free and delivers those living in darkness.”
Thus, holiness is possible, even for those who must rise from the depths, because Jesus has come “to do good and to heal all those who are under the power of the devil”. Before, we were under the power of the devil, now no more; the chains on our feet have been broken and we can walk towards the heights.
Hope is rekindled in us, “God will return soon and will show his face to the world and shake the foundations with his all-powerful voice”.
Just as the Apostle John who entered the Tomb after the Resurrection, “saw and believed”, so it happens for each us today, we see and contemplate the Face of God and we firmly believe.
Holy Father, accept with benevolence our prayers and guide us to the seeking of Your Face, which you have revealed in fullness in Jesus, Your Son.
O Lord, make Your Face to shine on us so that we might enjoy your goodness in the peace we are protected by your powerful hand, freed from every sin by the strength of your outstretched arm, and saved from those who hate us unjustly.
Grant harmony and peace to us and to all the inhabitants of the earth, as you have granted to our fathers, when they invoked you devoutly in faith and in truth, you alone, O Lord, can grant us these good things. (Translation by Raymond Frost)
(Bishop Farhat, on left, died December 17, 2016-May he gaze on God’s Face!)
Since ancient times processions have been a reminder that our Christian life is a constant movement toward God and our eternal home. A procession is a type of pilgrimage and expression of piety that flows from the liturgy. Solemn processions can be quite beautiful–accompanied by hymns, prayers, and lit candles– flower girls dropping roses petals, lines of freshly scrubbed altar servers, Knights of Columbus in plumed hats and capes, bearing their swords (the envy of every little boy), priests accompanying the Eucharist or precious relics, acolytes surrounded by clouds of incense, and the faithful holding their rosaries trying to keep their place as they walk slowly behind. But make no mistake, a procession is not a pretty parade. There is power in procession that terrifies the infernal foe and makes all of hell tremble.
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.”
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. 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!
On the occasion of the first “Omnis Terra” procession in 1208, Pope Innocent III wrote this beautiful prayer of devotion to the Veil of Holy Face of Jesus:
“O God, who has marked us with the light of Thy Face as your memorial, and at the request of Veronica, left us Thy Image imprinted on the sudarium; grant we pray, that by your passion and death, to adore, venerate and honor you, in mystery and as through a mirror on earth, so that we might be able to certainly see you, face to face, when you come as our judge.”
This year, on “Omnis Terra” Sunday, January 15, 2017, history will be made once again at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy. A third solemn annual procession will be introduced–in addition to the two solemn processions already observed in May (commemorating the arrival of the Holy Veil to Manoppello), and the solemn procession in August (on the Feast of the Transfiguration). (Details may be found here on the Holy Face of Manoppello blogspot)
The addition of a third procession of the Holy Face at the Shrine of Manoppello is not only Trinitarian, it is a deeply significant and public witness of honor paid by the faithful to His Holy Face and thus also to the Holy Name of Jesus! May all of hell tremble at the sight of His Holy Face!
A Hymn composed by Pope Innocent III from the year 1216:
“Sancte Salve Facies”
Hail Holy Face of Our Redeemer on which shines the appearance of divine splendor impressed upon a little cloth of snowy radiance and given to Veronica as a standard of love.
Hail beauty of the ages, mirror of the saints, which the spirits of the heavens desire to see. Cleanse us from every stain of sin and guide us to the fellowship of the blessed.
Hail our glory amidst this hard life, so fragile and unstable, quickly passing away. Point us, O happy figure, to the heavenly homeland to see the Face that is Christ indeed.
Hail, O sudarium, noble encased jewel, both our solace and the memorial of Him who assumed a little mortal body–our true joy and ultimate good!
*The precious miniature manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia,” was published around 1350 and is preserved in the State Archives in Rome. The illustration at the bottom of the first page of the Liber is one of the oldest illustrations of “the Veronica,” which depicts Pope Innocent III with “the Veronica” in his right hand and the Rule granted to the brothers of the hospital in his left. Prior to the Jubilee of 2000, the French medievalist Jacques Le Goff wrote, “Over the centuries Rome was enriched with notable relics. One in particular acquired an exceptional prestige: the sudarium of Christ known and revered by the name of “the Veronica.” The circumstances by which the image first came to Rome is a mystery but was mentioned for the first time under Pope John VII (705-707)
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has taught us, in his many writings about the Holy Face, that the Hebrew term, “panim”, which means “face” means to see The Face of God, or the presence of God. “Panim” is a term that describes relationships. The Hebrew word “shem” meaning “name” is also a term of relationship. God has a Face and a Name!
The revelation of the Face of God, Pope Benedict XVI says, took on a new and beautiful manifestation when God became man at the moment of The Incarnation, in the person of Jesus Christ. The Son of God was made man and He is given a Name–Jesus. As fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ gave us a human face that revealed the Face of God. The Incarnation reveals the direct connection between The Holy Face and Holy Name of God. Jesus shows us the Face of the Father for as He told His disciples, “If you have seen Me, you have seen The Father.” But Jesus also makes known to us the Name of God: as He said at the Last Supper when praying to His Father, “I have made Your Name known to them.”
The expression “name of God” means God as He Who is present among men. His name, Pope Benedict XVI teaches, is the concrete sign of His Existence.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “To rejoice in the splendor of His Face means penetrating the mystery of His Namemade known to us in Jesus, understanding something of His Interior life and of His will, so that we can live according to His plan for humanity. Jesus lets us know the hidden Face of The Father through His human Face; by the gift of The Holy Spirit poured into our hearts.”
Because of the profound relationship with God and His Name and Face, sins committed against this relationship with Him–causing pain and suffering to His Sacred Heart– are reflected in the Face of Christ. The manifestation of our sins on His Countenance come about through blasphemy, atheism, disrespect of God in Sacred things, the profanation of Sunday, hatred of God’s Church. These indignities suffered by Our Lord in His Face represent the most serious sins, because they are against God Himself.
The damage done by our sins to our relationship with God are reflected in the Face of Jesus Christ. For this reason, devotion and reparation to The Holy Face and the Holy Name is fitting in order to make amends for what we have done to Him.
The Golden Arrow is a beautiful Prayer given by Our Lord to Carmelite Sr. Marie St. Pierre to be said in reparation for blasphemy against the Holy Name.
The Golden Arrow
“May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God, be forever praised, blessed, adored, loved and glorified, in heaven, on earth, and in the hells, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.”
Reciting the Golden Arrow or other prayers that honor the Holy Face and the Holy Name, are an act of compassion and love, which have the effect of wiping the blood, sweat, dust and spittle from The Face of Jesus. And by doing so, Our Lord also restores His Image in our souls.
“O God, Who did constitute Your only-begotten Son the Saviour of mankind, and did command that He should be called Jesus; grant in Your kindness that our hearts joy in Heaven may be the Face of Him Whose Holy Name we venerate on earth.” Amen.
“Oh Savior Jesus, who didst 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 Thy 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. ” ~ Blessed Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli (who is also known for the Holy Face Medal, which bears the Face of the Shroud of Turin on one side, and the symbol for the Holy Name on the other.)