Holy Face Novena 2022 – 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 2022 – 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

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

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.

Holy Face Novena 2022 – Day Five

Holy Face Novena Day 5:

“So may sins of impurity are committed in this city, but true souls of reparation are few, do thou at least console and comfort me.”–words of Our Lord to Bl. Mother Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

The Divine Prisoner, Holy Face of Manoppello
photo: Patricia Enk

“O Holy Face of Christ, light that enlightens the darkness of doubt and sadness, life that has defeated forever the force of evil and death, O inscrutable gaze that never ceases to watch over mankind; Face concealed in the Eucharistic signs and in the faces of those that live with us!  Make us pilgrims in his world, longing for the infinite and ready for the final encounter, when we shall see you, Lord, “face to face” (Cor. 13-12) and be able to contemplate you forever in Heavenly Glory.” — Pope Benedict XVI (Excerpt from his prayer in honor of his visit to the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello.)

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.

St. Veronica statue by Francesco Mochi, 1629

Fifth Day

Psalm 51: 10-11

Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may revive.  From my sins turn away your Face, and blot out all my guilt.

IMG_1037

Holy Face of Jesus, Sacred Countenance  of God, how great is your patience with humankind, how infinite your forgiveness.  We are sinners, yet you love us.  This gives us courage  For the glory of your Holy Face and of the Blessed Trinity, hear and answer us.  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. Joseph

“Blessed are the pure of heart; for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8)

St. Joseph
St. Joseph

Dear St. Joseph!  Adopt us as thy children, take charge of our salvation; watch over us day and night; preserve us from occasions of sin; obtain for us purity of body and soul, and the spirit of prayer, through thy intercession with Jesus, grant us a spirit of sacrifice, of humility and self-denial; obtain for us a burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet, tender love for Mary, our Mother.  St. Joseph, be with us in life, be with us in death and obtain for us a favorable judgement from Jesus, our merciful Savior.  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)

  • [The prayer to St. Joseph in this novena reminds us of the love of God the Father.  He looks upon us with infinite pity, mercy and love through the Face of His Son, Jesus Christ.    The Holy Face of Jesus shows us the eternal, tender love that God the Father has for us.]

Holy Face Novena 2022 – Day Four

“Love is tireless, it feeds on silence and humility and is heart to heart with our Beloved, deriving from His Heart the powerful force which makes love tireless to do much, to do well the tiniest everyday things to please Him alone.  How many pearls we can collect each day to make Jesus forget the insults He receives each day? How many kisses–it will be a smile–a word held back–an act of charity–docile obedience–temptation promptly resisted–and in moments in which nature, pride, self-love, sensuality, desire to hold sway–a glance at the Holy FACE–that blood, those Divine Eyes veiled with grief and love and we will say nothing?” –Blessed Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli, Missionary of the Holy Face

Day 4:

Alpha-Omega Holy Face of Jesus Novena Prayer

Veil of Veronica C. 1618-22 National Gallery
Veil of Veronica C. 1618-22 National Gallery

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.

Fourth Day

Psalm 51: 8-9

Indeed you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me Wisdom.  O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow. 

O Lord Jesus, who has said, learn of me for I am meek and gentle of heart, and who did manifest upon The Holy Face the sentiments of Thy divine heart, grant that we may love to come frequently and meditate upon Thy divine features.  We may read there Thy gentleness and Thy humility, and learn how to form our hearts in the practice of these two virtues which Thou desires to see shine in Thy servants.  Mary our Mother and 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.

Sorrowful Mother
Sorrowful Mother

“O Holy Face of my sweet Jesus, by the tenderness of the love and most deep sorrow with which Mary most holy contemplated You in Your Passion, grant to our souls to share in her love and grief and fulfill Your Most Holy Will as perfectly as possible. Amen. “

–Bl. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

Prayer in Honor of the Sorrows of The Blessed Virgin

O Most Holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs!  Who stood beneath the Cross, witnessing the agony of your dying Son, look down with a mother’s tenderness and pity on us as we kneel before you to venerate your Sorrows and place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of your wounded heart.  Present them on our behalf to Jesus, through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with your sufferings at the foot of the Cross, and through the united efficacy of both, obtain the favor which we humbly ask.  To whom shall we go in our wants and miseries if not to you.  O Mother of Mercy, who having so deeply drunk of the chalice of your Son, graciously alleviate the sufferings of those who still sigh in this land of exile.  Amen.

Prayer to the Souls in Purgatory

My Jesus, by the sorrows you suffered in your agony in the garden, in your scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary,  in your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and specially on those that are most forsaken.  Deliver them from the dire torments they endure.  Call them and admit them to your most sweet embrace in Paradise.  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)

Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello
Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde

“While we too seek other signs, other wonders, we do not realize that He is the real sign, God made flesh; He is the greatest miracle of the universe: all the love of God hidden in a human heart, in a human face.” — Pope Benedict XVI

Psalm 24

Priest elevating Eucharist on paten viewed through the Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde
Elevated paten viewed through the Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello.Photo: Paul Badde

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?

Who shall stand in his holy place?

The man with clean hands and pure heart,

who desires not worthless things,

who has not sworn so as to deceive his neighbor;

He shall receive blessing from the Lord

and reward from the God who saves him.

Such are the men who seek him,

seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Holy Face Novena 2022 – Day Three

Holy Face Novena – Day 3:

“Oh Jesus, who in Thy Cruel Passion didst become the “Reproach of men and the Man of Sorrows,” I worship Thy Divine Face.” –St. Therese

Daily Preparatory Prayer

“Every time that anyone gazes at my Face, I will pour my love into hearts and by means of the Holy Face, the salvation of many souls will be obtained.” –Our Lord to Bl. Mother Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

Face of Christ: Fra Angelico, c. 1427

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.

Third Day – Holy Face Novena

Psalm 51: 6-7

You are just when you pass sentence on me, blameless when you give judgement.  You know I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception.

Bl. Pope Pius IX
Bl. Pope Pius IX “Reparation is a work destined to save society”

Prayer of Pope Pius IX

O Jesus! Cast upon us a look of mercy; turn your Face towards each of us as you did to Veronica; not that we may see it with our bodily eyes; for this we do not deserve, but turn it towards our hearts, so that, remembering you, we may ever draw from this fountain of strength the vigor necessary to sustain the combats of life.  Amen. our Mother Mary, and 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.

IMG_0460

Prayer of St. Francis

All highest, glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of our hearts, give us true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, so that with wisdom, courage and perception, O Lord, we may do what is truly your holy will.  Amen.

To the Angels and Saints

We salute you, through the Holy Face and Sacred Heart of Jesus,  all you holy Angels and Saints of God.  We rejoice in your glory, and we give thanks to our Lord for all the benefits which He has showered upon you; we praise Him, and glorify Him, and offer you for an increase of your joy and honor, the most Holy Face and gentle Heart of Jesus.  Pray that we may become formed according to the heart of God.  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)

"Their Face is the Face of Christ" --Pope Francis
“Their Face is the Face of Christ” –Pope Francis

“The Face of God is like that of a merciful Father that always has patience and is willing to forgive…All of us have felt joy, sadness, and sorrow in our lives.  Have we wept during the darkest moment?  Have we that gift of tears that prepare the eyes to look, to see the Lord?” — Pope Francis

Holy Face Novena 2022 – Day Two

Day 2:

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“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 souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance.” (Our Lord to St. Gertrude)

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.

Second Day Psalm 51: 5-6My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; What is evil in your sight I have done. Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt you so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do.  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus.  Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another, and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity.  Amen. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, …Pardon and mercy.

Prayer to The Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the apostles, Thou who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us, illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations.  We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity.  May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever.  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)

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello photo: Paul Badde
Holy Face Veil of Manoppello
photo: Paul Badde

“O God, Who did constitute Your only begotten Son the Savior of mankind, and did command that He should be called JESUS; grant in Your kindness that our heart’s joy in Heaven may be the Face of Him Whose Holy Name we venerate on earth.” Amen. — Blessed Mother Pierina De Michelli, “Missionary of the Holy Face”

Holy Face Novena 2022 – Day One

“Whoever who gazes upon me already consoles me.” –Our Lord t Bl. Mother Pierina De Michelli
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Bl. Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli known for her extraordinary devotion to The Holy Face of Jesus and The Holy Face Medal

The great “Missionary of the Holy Face,” Blessed Mother Maria Pierina De Michele, was asked by Our Lord to have a Feast of the Holy Face, which was to be preceded by a novena. (The Feast was approved in 1958 by Pope Pius XII, who formally declared  the Feast of the Holy Face on “Shrove Tuesday” (The Tuesday which precedes Ash Wednesday.)

Bl. Mother Maria Pierina inspired her Daughters of the Immaculate Conception to make a novena with all the fervor of their hearts, uniting themselves to Jesus in grief and suffering, in the Garden of Gethsemane.  She exhorted her nuns to honor the Face of Jesus by giving Him “a kiss of love.”

 “Honor the Holy Face of our dear Jesus, sorrowful for the sins of men–ours–everyones–but specially for those who should be His intimate friends…Let us gaze profoundly at that Divine Face–speak heart to heart–and we will share His most bitter griefs–and He will say, ‘Console Me, you at least who say you love Me–in order to be all Mine.'”  –Bl. Mother Pierina de Micheli, “Missionary of the Holy Face” 

Day 1:

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.

First Day

Church of St. Veronica, Lecco, Italy c. 1280

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.

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!”

Holy Face Novena 2022 begins February 20th

“It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine also 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

“For God so loved the world” 

The Holy Face Novena will begin on Sunday, February 20, and will be posted here for each day.

The Feast of the Holy Face for 2022 will fall on  March 1st –“Shrove Tuesday” — the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

“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  (1890-1945)

Another holy nun, Sr. Marie St. Pierre (1816-1848) of Tours, France, was given revelations about devotion to the Face of Jesus. She received communications from Our Lord, who asked for a devotion to His Holy Face and a Work of Reparation: the offering His Holy Face to the Father in reparation for the sins of blasphemy, sacrilege, the crimes of atheistic communism, the profanation of the Holy Name, and the Holy Day of Sunday. The sins against the first three if the Ten Commandments are the greatest sins against God. The damage done by our sins to our relationship with God are reflected in the Face of of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. For this reason, devotion and reparation to the Holy Face is fitting in order to make amends for what we have done to Him.

Our Lord said to her, “I have taken upon my Head all the sins of mankind, so that my members may be spared. Therefore, offer my Face to the Father, this is the means of appeasing Him.”

“My daughter, I give you my Face and my Heart, I give you my Blood, and I open my wounds to you; draw from them and pour it out. Buy without money, my Blood that is the price of souls. Oh! What grief for my Heart to see the remedies which have cost me so dearly, scorned. Ask from my Father as many souls as the number of drops of Blood that I shed during my Passion.”

“All who will undertake this work and who will truly devote themselves to it will not die the eternal death. I will defend their cause before my Father and I will give them the kingdom of Heaven.” 

“This work is the essence of charity!” — Our Lord to Sr. Marie St. Pierre

Click here if you would like to read a little of the History of images of the Holy Face.

King Abgare recieving a miraculous image of the Holy Face

“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…To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize Him wherever He manifests Himself, in His many forms of presence, but above all, in the living Sacrament of His Body and Blood.”

Pope St. John Paul II

“The Reparation is a Work destined to save society.”  Pope Pius IX

The Perfect Love

The Trinity by Rublev

The great love stories in literature and real life have usually ended in tragedy: Romeo and Juliet, Napoleon and Josephine, Anna Karenina and her husband… that is, before her desire to be worshipped by Vronsky destroyed her. Then there are those great hidden and unknown lovers, whose romance was born in the heart of the Trinity and remained there in the darkness of faith, hope, and love. I have seen one such rare couple many times, in the pew in front of me at Mass. Bridegroom and bride are both in their late eighties now, snowy-haired, and frail. He gently leads her to the pew each week, tenderly unbuttons her red coat as he tells her how beautiful she is today. She has Alzheimers, but is like a lamb at his side; calm and docile. The husband gives himself in sacrificial love, doing all for the bride who is no longer capable of doing anything for herself. These beautiful lovers reflect the eternal love of the Trinity, and the sacrificial love of Christ for His bride, the Church, and with it, our own souls.

It is astounding that the most beautiful romantic poetry ever written was by the Carmelite Friar, St. John of the Cross, after having been kidnapped by his fellow friars, beaten and locked for months in a cold, narrow room that had been formerly used as a latrine for visitors. This is not the setting one would think of when one thinks of a great romance. And yet… it was in this darkness he wrote his Romances. John was seeking the Face of God in his anguish, and there discovered God was seeking him more.

St. John’s Romances were most likely written at the beginning of John’s imprisonment in Toledo during Advent of 1577. In his search for God, amidst terrible suffering and bewildering darkness, John expresses his hope in God by turning back to memories of the popular ballads of his childhood. He then stirs up his love, and gives voice to his faith, by recounting salvation history – the beautiful story of the immense mutual love of the Holy Trinity. In this overflowing love, the Father and Son each desire the glory of the other, and so creation comes into being. The Father creates a bride for the Son. The bride is the Church, and ourselves within the Church, created to share in the divine love. In Romances, the Incarnation, Stanza 7,  John writes of the loving exchange between the Father and the Son. The Word of God is presented with a bride who is made in his image, but she is “unlike in her flesh.”

“You see Son that your bride

 was made in your image,

and in so far as she is like you

she suits you very well;

but she is unlike in her flesh

which your simple substance lacks.

The pattern of gift, space, and God making the space himself are found in the verse. Father reveals his gift as “with love most tender” He speaks to the Son, who in accepting the gift knows that he must empty himself (making space), suffer, and die.

The next lines pierce one’s heart with a truth that is found in all John’s writing; that of the humility of God in emptying himself, becoming “like the one he loves” to unite himself with his bride, taking on her sins, suffering and dying for them himself, in order to redeem her.

“In perfect love

this law obtains;

that the lover should become

like the one he loves;

for the greater the likeness

the greater the delight;

would increase greatly if she saw you like her

in that flesh which is hers.”

This moment, before the Incarnation that will occur, evokes the memory of the night of the Last Supper when Jesus in his agony prays, “Father, not my will but yours be done:”

“My will is yours”, the Son replied,

“and the glory which I have

 is that your will be mine…”

Jesus, himself has made the space for the gift of redemption to be fulfilled in Him; willing his own suffering and death, and later, in His resurrection for the sake of his bride, enabling her to share in his risen life – so that the bridegroom and the bride will be one —  as he and the Father are one.

“I will die for her,

And lifting her out of that deep,

I will restore her to you.”

The pattern of “the perfect love” is a sign for all today, where it is repeated in each soul within the Body of Christ. The “perfect love” is seen in the example of the Virgin Mary, when she offered her “Fiat,” and Jesus became Incarnate in her womb, and each day until the foot of the Cross and the tomb. Following her example, in total “yes” to God’s will, we can trust that Jesus will ultimately make the space in our own pain, emptiness and darkness for the gift of the Holy Spirit; so that Jesus will become incarnate in our souls; transforming in love the lover, who, in union with Jesus will also become “like the one he loves:” a likeness of Jesus — to the Glory of God the Father, who delights in seeing the image of His Son in the soul of “the bride.”

Give Glory to God All the Earth! Omnis Terra

“Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi!”

“The whole earth adores you, O God, and sing hymns to you” (Ps 65:4)

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

UPDDATE: Homily of Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto — Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Holy Face and the Wedding at Cana

Homily in the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

Sunday, January 16, 2022

+ Bruno Forte

Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto

It was the year 1208, the second Sunday after the Epiphany, named Omnis Terra by the words of the Introit “Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi!” (“The whole earth adores you, O God, and sing hymns to you” (Ps 65:4), when Pope Innocent III instituted the procession to carry the veil of the Holy Face (the so-called Veronica) from St. Peter’s Basilica to the nearby church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. Here the Bishop of Rome wanted to bless with the precious relic the sick of the ancient Pilgrims’ Hospital, which he himself had rebuilt and upgraded. With that gesture Pope Innocent intended to highlight the healing power of the Face of the Saviour contemplated with faith and the fruitfulness of the prayer of adoration and intercession before that Face, which we recognize to be present in the veil of byssus venerated in Manoppello.

“Vera Icon” Holy Face of Manoppello (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

This year the cycle of liturgical texts causes us to listen to the story of the wedding at Cana, taken from the Gospel according to John (2:1-11), on the Sunday of Omnis Terra, thus providing us with a luminous source to better contemplate and welcome the message that comes to us and to the whole Church from the Holy Face preserved in this place. The account, moreover, offers us the key to the entire Gospel, as the indication of the final verse makes us understand: This, at Cana in Galilee, was the beginning of the signs performed by Jesus; and he manifested his glory to them, and his disciples believed in him (v. 11). What Jesus does at Cana is the principle and model of what he will accomplish for our salvation: whoever enters the mystery of Cana enters the mystery of Christ!

Against the background of the symbolism of marriage, a beautiful metaphor of the covenant between the Lord and his people (Cfr. Hos 2:16-25; Jer 2:1-2; 3,1.6-12; Ez 16; Is 50:1; 54,4-8; 62:4-5), the sign of Cana reveals the Face of Jesus as that of the divine Bridegroom of the People of God, with whom the Lord will conclude the new and definitive covenant in the Paschal Mystery of the Son. The wedding at Cana anticipates the Passover of Jesus as an event of nuptial covenant, fulfilling and going beyond the Sinai covenant, and manifests the relationship with the Most High realized in Christ and with Him as an intense and life-giving relationship of love.

The story, then, read in the place that preserves the precious veil of the Holy Face, allows us to connect the vision of this beloved Face to the role that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has in the Church: it is she who notices the need that has come to be determined in the wedding feast. They no longer have wine (v. 3): in these words the tender and concrete attention of the Mother, who presents to her Son the need of her friends, is manifested. Similarly, Mary accompanies us to the encounter with the Face of the Savior, helping us to make joyful and profound our reception of the gaze of her Son, He who heals, forgives and fills our hearts with joy.

The “Living Face” becomes visible on the Holy Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

In the wine, moreover, mentioned five times in the account (vv. 3.9.10), another important sign of messianic times can be recognized. This is how the Prophets had spoken of it: From the mountains the new wine will drip and flow down the hills (Am 9:13); the wine will characterize the eschatological banquet, where it will be offered free of charge (cf. Is 25:6 and 55:1). The new wine will gladden the wedding day of the Lord and his people (Cfr. Hos 2:21-24). In this light, the wedding banquet at Cana appears as the hour of God’s saving intervention, who comes to fill the expectation of his people in a superabundant way and transforms the water of purification of the Jews (cf. v. 6) into the new wine of the Kingdom.

The letter of the Law is transformed into the wine of the Spirit! In the Face of the Lord Jesus, then, both the expectation of Israel and the question, full of desire, that dwells in the restless heart of each of us, especially in the face of the pain of the world and, in particular, in the face of the drama we are experiencing with the pandemic, is recognized. This interpretation also allows us to understand Jesus’ answer: “Woman, what do you want from me? My hour has not yet come” (v. 4). The expression emphasizes the surprising newness that Christ brings and that will be fully manifested in his “hour,” that of the paschal event of His passion, death and resurrection. It is in the hour of Christ that the messianic time will manifest itself as the fulfillment of the promises and of the promise of the new and definitive fulfillment: and the serene Face of the Risen One, even though separated from the signs of the Passion, is here to remind us of this.

The words that the Mother addresses to the servants are also of great importance: “Wherefore what he tells you, do it” (v. 5). They evoke the context of the Sinai covenant: just as the people of the old covenant respond to divine revelation giving consent in faith – “What the Lord has said, we will do” (Ex 19:8; 24:3, 7) – so Mary manifests her unconditional trust in her Son, who has just evoked the mystery of his “hour”. The result is highlighted on the one hand by the identification between Mary and Israel, by virtue of which the hope of the chosen people resounds in her, on the other by the faith of the Mother, who shows herself open to the impossible possibility of the sign that the Son will want to fulfill, and which will be the faith of the Church.

The eyes following the onlooker — Holy Veil of Manoppello (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

This makes clear the invitation that she addresses to the “servants” (indicated here with the term “diakónoi”, with which in 12:26 John designates the true disciples of Jesus): it shows the role of model and mother in the faith that she will have in the community of the covenant. In Mary, the old covenant passes into the new, Israel into the Church, the Law into the Gospel, because of her total and unconditional faith in her Son, to whom she directs herself and others. In the Church born of the Passover of the new and perfect covenant, the Virgin Mother is the one who presents to the Son the needs of the time of waiting and leads to faith in him, a necessary condition for the new wine to fill the jars of the ancient purification.

The way to enter into the messianic wedding – sealed by the blood of the Lamb, offered on the mountain of sacrifice – is therefore faith in the Crucified And Risen One, whose hour is anticipated at Cana, that faith to which the Mother invites us: “Wherefore whatever he tells you, do it” (v. 5). That which at Cana is prefigured and announced, will come about in fullness in the sorrowful Mother at the foot of the Cross: with the beloved disciple, united to her, the dying Jesus threads a dialogue, which is a model of what every believer can renew with Him, letting oneself be gazed upon by the Holy Face of the Redeemer and contemplating Him with humble love.

Il Volto Santo – The Face of Love and Mercy (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

In short, before the Face of Jesus, every baptized person can recognize himself as a beloved disciple next to his Mother, a disciple who, believing in love, is the object of the infinite love of the Father and the Son, faithful even to the cross (v. 26), witness to the fruitful mystery of blood and water, flowing from the pierced side of Jesus Crucified (v. 35), called to be a privileged herald of his resurrection (Cfr. Jn 20:8). Looking at Mary at Cana and under the Cross, we too learn to ask the Lord, whose Face looks at us with love, to help us love Him as she loved Him. We do so with words taken from the beautiful “Laude” (Praises) by Jacopone da Todi (1230/36-1306), Donna de Paradiso (Woman of Paradise) (Laude LXX), a moving re-reading of John’s story, which helps us to place ourselves with Mary and like her under the merciful and life-giving gaze of Him:

“Woman of Paradise, / your son is taken / Jesus Christ the blessed … / Madonna, he is betrayed, / Judas has sold him; / thirty pieces he has gained, / in an awful exchange” / … / “O son, son, son, / son, loving lily! / Son, who will give counsel / to my anguished heart? / … / “Mamma with afflicted heart, / I place into your hands / those of John, my chosen; / behold your son. / John my beloved / take her to yourself in charity, / have pity on her, / whose heart is so distressed”. / … / “O Son with face so fair, / O son, why has the world, / scorned you so? / … / “Son, thy soul has flown /son of the lost, / son of the disappeared, / … / What a death of son and mother / of a death endured,/ embraced / mother and son!”.

As Mary before the Face of the Son dying out of love for us, may each of us before the Holy Face preserved in this place obtain to die with Jesus to the old man, to rise with Him to be a new creature, anticipating in the fragility of time something of the infinite beauty of heaven, which in the Holy Face venerated here is revealed and promised with the discretion and humility of love victorious over evil and death. Amen.

Omnis Terra, Latin for “All the Earth, ” is the name given to the Second Sunday in Ordinary time, when the Gospel of the Wedding at Cana is read.  In the midst of the wedding feast, Mary whispers to her son Jesus, “They have no wine.” At Mary’s words, Jesus then performed his first miracle: “the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee, and so revealed His glory, and His disciples began to believe in Him.” (John 2: 1-11)  The revelation of Jesus’s glory is the cause for all the earth rejoicing, giving praise to His Name at the wedding feast of the Lamb! This year Omnis Terra falls on January 16th, and will be celebrated with a solemn Mass and procession at the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy.

From the 2021 Omnis Terra Procession, Vaticano interview with Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal houshold, and personal secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Interview begins at 1:16.

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 K of C costume and sword were the envy of every little boy, but have been recently updated to a less colorful uniform), 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.”

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”

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!

Archbishop Ganswain holding the replica of the Holy Veil of Manoppello at Spirito Santo in Rome. 2016
Archbishop Ganswain holding the replica of the Holy Veil of Manoppello at Spirito Santo in Rome. 2016

History was made on “Omnis Terra”(All the earth) Sunday in January of 2016, when bishops, priests, and pilgrims re-enacted the historic “Omnis Terra” Procession of Pope Innocent III (pictured above), carrying a reproduction of the precious image that many scholars identify with “the Veronica” or “true image” of the Face of Jesus. The pilgrim procession began at St. Peter’s in Rome and processed to  Spirito Santo church and hospital, drawing attention especially to the Face of Christ in the sick and the poor.

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.”

On “Omnis Terra” Sunday, January 15, 2017, history was made once again at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy, when a third solemn annual procession was 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). 

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”

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

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)

More information will be posted when it becomes available as to live-streaming of the Mass, Procession and blessing of “All the World” with the Holy Face from the Basilica Shrine in Manoppello.