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:


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, –  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


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.


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