Annual Tradition Altered for Celebration of May Feast in Manoppello

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

 

Basilica of Il Volto Santo in Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

This year the annual May feast of the Holy Face, commemorating the arrival of the Holy Veil in Manoppello, will alter the traditional  procession due to precautions taken for the virus.

Translated from an Italian news article by Walter Teti

The procession which traditionally took place in two phases between the first Sunday of May and the following Monday, will coincide this year with the reopening of the churches and celebrations, set by the Government in Italy for Monday. Until last year, the celebrations included two days: on Sunday the monstrance of the sacred icon was brought in procession from the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face to the parish church of San Nicola in the historic center of Manoppello where it would remain all night. The following day, always in procession, the relic was brought back to the church of the Holy Face.

On this occasion, however, a limited number of people may participate in religious services, with limited access to the Church, while the ban on processions remains. The mayor Giorgio De Luca and the parish priest of the Basilica of the Holy Face, Father Carmine Cucinelli, are organizing to adapt the rite to health and prevention standards, trying to keep the tradition.

The program, however, provides that the “Holy Face on Monday morning at 9:00”, explains the public relations officer Antonio Bini, “is brought by the rector Father Carmine, together with other confreres, on board an uncovered car, driven by a local young man who offered his availability to the church of San Nicola, tracing the tradition that says that the veil would have been delivered to Dr. Leonelli in the 16th century by by an anonymous pilgrim. The celebration of Mass will follow at 10 am presided over by the archbishop of the diocese Chieti-Vasto, Archbishop Bruno Forte.

Rose petals tossed before the Holy Face of Manoppello. photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

A very limited number of 68 devotees can access the church. The function can be followed through the piped music. At the end of the Mass, the Holy Face will be brought back to the Basilica through Corso Santarelli…the citizens will participate in the passage of the Holy Face …with the display of drapes and embroidered blankets on the balconies, from which rose petals are thrown…there will be only the usual blessing in all directions.

“They are saddened by the conditions to be observed for the celebration of the party,” explained the mayor, “but both for the extremely urgent situation and for the protection of public health, I urge citizens to avoid any form of assembly and to respect the provisions that will be indicated, ” for which the police will operate, with the collaboration of the volunteers of the Civil Protection.

For Father Carmine it is already a gift that “the rite of the feast can be maintained, in full compliance with the rules for containing the spread of the virus. “I thank the Archbishop for his presence, which once again demonstrates closeness to the Holy Face. He also assured that the celebration of the Mass could be followed, by those who wish, from Italy and from abroad; through the live streaming broadcast on the official Facebook page of the Basilica del Volto Santo. It is to be hoped that the feast of the transfiguration de Gesu, which falls annually on August 6 may be carried out with the return to normal.”

UPDATE:  Homily of Archbishop Bruno Forte – Translation by Raymond Frost

May 18, 2020

Eucharistic celebration in the Parish Church of Manoppello Before the Holy Face

Archbishop Bruno Forte’s homily

Today’s Eucharistic celebration is an act of praise to God for the gift of the precious sudarium of the crucified Lord, preserved in the Basilica of the Holy Face, present among us today on the occasion of the annual feast of the third Sunday of May, which commemorates the arrival of the relic in Manoppello. This thanksgiving, moreover, takes place on the centenary of the birth of Karol Wojtyla, St. John Paul II, who on this date in 1920 came into the world in Wadowice, Poland. The mystery proclaimed by the Word of God from the liturgy of Easter time is thus united to the double mystery we are celebrating, the luminous one linked to the Face of the Savior and the one depicted by the figure of this great Saint, who was a loving witness to the Redeemer, springing from a union with Him that I would not hesitate to define as mystical, whose depths I could perceive throughout the entire week that I spent with him, when I had the grace to preach the spiritual exercises for him in 2004, which he intensely and faithfully followed, and which were also the last of His earthly life.

The reading from the Acts of the Apostles (16:11-15) demonstrates the exquisite attention that the Apostle Paul pays to human relations: in addition to his efforts to visit the communities he founded to see the brethren in person, the consideration he shows towards women, to whom he turns with great freedom to announce to them the good news, is striking,  not hesitating to accept the invitation of Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, a believer in God, to go as a guest in her household. We could say that Paul’s attention to faces is revealed here,  that is, to people in their unique and concrete stories: if we were to ask ourselves from whom a fervent Hebrew such as Saul had learned to pay so much attention to faces, especially to female ones, traditionally neglected by the rather masculine culture of his time, we could only answer that he had learned it from his mystical contemplation of the One he had met on the way to Damascus and who, speaking to him one on one, had said to him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). The vision became in the heart of the fervent persecutor a precise question: “Who are you, O Lord?”, to which he received the revealing answer: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting!” (v. 5). The role of the Face of Jesus, expressed in appearance and in voice, is decisive for the vocation of the one who will become the great Apostle of the peoples, as Ananias will confirm to him, “the Lord sent me to you, that Jesus who appeared to you on the way you were traveling” (v. 17): from our personal encounter with  the  Face of  Christ, our lives are transformed, even transfigured, to become with the grace from on high lives of apostles, stories of humility, charity and holiness in the service of the Gospel.From the encounter with the Face of the Lord comes conversion and mission.

The text taken from the Gospel according to John (15:26-16:4), then, makes us understand who makes possible this meeting so personal and transformative with Christ, leaping over the chasm of the centuries that separate us from the days of His flesh: it is the Spirit, the Paraclete that Jesus sends from the Father, the Spirit of truth that testifies to Him and makes it possible for us to bear witness, if we abide with Himand remainunited to Him. Once again, the Face of the Savior reaches us with absolute concreteness in the strength of His Spirit, and looking at us and calling us makes us able to love as He asks and to become witnesses of this love at the cost of one’s life, as so often the persecutions of Christians have shown in the history of humanity. Not only, therefore, does the Face of the Beloved send forth the disciple, but it is also the source of the strength that reaches out to him and that makes possible the otherwise impossible ability to bear witness, completely and without fear, to Him who is risen, The Face that sends us forth by His voice is the same Face that looks at us, accompanies us, supports us and awaits us in the infinite beauty of the final encounter in beauty and joy, which will never know sunset.  From theHolyFace ofJesus, contemplated and loved, comes the strength of our missionary passion and fidelity stronger than any trial..

The Face of Jesus was also for St. John Paul II the source of his vocation and mission and the strength to bring these to completion in the absolute fidelity of his whole life: in the two long dialogues that I had with him during the exercises of 2004, the Pope recounted to me – among many other beautiful things  –  a phrase, which in my opinion shows in a tangible way the mystical union that He lived with Christ. Speaking of the challenges faced in serving the Church and bringing to the world the good news of salvation that does not disappoint, John Paul II paused for a moment, and then added with a particularly expressive face, as if marked by memories, these words: “The Pope must suffer”. He emphasized that “must” with a particular intensity, which instinctively reminded me of Jesus’ phrase addressed to the disciples of Emmaus: “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Didn’t Christ have to undergo this suffering in order to enter into his glory?” (Lk 24:25-26). It is the law of love, the need to pay with one’s life the price of the gift of self for the sake of others, summed up, for example, in the words of Paul and Barnabas, reported by the Acts of the Apostles: “After preaching the gospel in that city and making a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples and urging them to remain steadfast in the faith because, they said, it is necessary to go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:21-22) As with the Apostle, so for St. John Paul II, the strength to endure so many trials can only come from the Lord Jesus, from His Face radiating light, love, and courage: “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

It is also the holy Pope himself who reveals to us this mystical secret of his life: he does so,  certainly,with the discretionand modesty of those who speak of the unspeakable, but also with the conviction of those who have had a true and profound experience of loving and dialoguing knowledge and contemplation of the Face of the Lord. In a prayer recited during his pastoral visit to the Archdiocese of Lucca (September 23-24, 1989), a city where a wooden crucifix revered as the Holy Face (Volto Santo) of Christ is preserved, St. John Paul II pronounced words which reveal profound depths of faith and mystical union, and which we can address with humility and love to the Holy Face imprinted on the sudarium, venerated in this place:  “Lord Jesus, crucified and risen, image of the glory of the Father, Holy Face who looks at us and scrutinizes us, merciful and meek, to call us to conversion and invite us to the fullness of love, we adore you and we thank you. In your luminous Face, we learn how we are loved and how we are to love; where freedom and reconciliation are found; how to become builders of the peace that radiates from you and leads to you. In your glorified Face we learn to overcome all forms of selfishness, to hope against all hope, to choose the works of life against the actions of death. Give us the grace to place you at the center of our lives; to remain faithful, amidst the perils and changes of the world, to our Christian vocation; to announce to the peoples the power of the Cross and the Word that saves; to be alert and hard working, attentive to the least of the brethren; to grasp the signs of true liberation, which has begun and will be fulfilled in you. Lord, grant your Church to stand, like the Virgin Mother, at your glorious Cross and at the crosses of all men to bring consolation, hope, and comfort to them. MaytheSpirit you have given us bring to maturity your work of salvation, so that all creatures, freed from the constraints of death, may contemplate in the glory of the Father your Holy Face, which luminously shines for ever and ever. Amen.

“The Rediscovered  Face of Jesus” — A beautiful Italian documentary on the history of the Holy Face Veil of Manoppello.

 

Click here for Video in Polish, English, Spanish and German

Website for the Basilica Shrine of Il Volto Santo click (here)

For religious articles from Il Volto Santo Shrine click (here)

In Jesus Christ, God Has Revealed His Name and His Face

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

“To know Christ better, contemplate His Holy Face.” ~Pope Francis 01/19/20

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EWTN News Nightly segment Manoppello begins at 20:37.

Blessing with Holy Face by Cardinal Kurt Koch assisted by Fr. Paolo Palombarini – Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

IN JESUS CHRIST, GOD HAS REVEALED HIS NAME AND HIS FACE

The Homily of Kurt Cardinal Koch for Omnis Terra 

(Translation by Raymond Frost)

A person with a name and a face

If you want to know a person and especially his mystery, it is advisable to know his name. Already a proverb suggests it: “Nomen est omen”. And it makes us realize that names play an important role in the lives of us humans. Even before a person is born, parents think about the name they want to give the newborn and the life prospects associated with it. The name received accompanies the person throughout his life. The person is called by his name, can be identified by his name and must sign with his name. Above all, the name allows the person to be called. When we call a person by his or her name, we are bound in a personal relationship with him or with her whom we name. The great meaning that the name holds in the life of an individual shows that the name expresses the essence of a person.

Of course, with the name alone we can not yet fully know the mystery of a person. The name alone remains somewhat abstract, suspended in the air, if it cannot be associated with a precise face. “Nomen est omen”: this saying begins to speak only when you meet the face that bears the name. Everyone has an unmistakable face that expresses his originality in the best sense of the word. As an individual can be called by his name, so he can be seen with his face and can establish a very personal relationship with another individual who shows him his face, so that a real “face-to-face” communication arises.

The transparent veil on which, by a “miracle of light” the Face of Christ is visible. Hand of Cardinal Koch Photo: Paul Badde

Name and face make an individual a concrete person. The name is a word of relationship and highlights the fact that a person, based on his name, can be called and can turn towards other people. Thanks to his face, he can be watched by others and can look at others and, therefore, convey to them the image already suggested by the language. It is no coincidence that the Hebrew word for face, “panim”, has been translated as “prosopon” in Greek and “persona” in Latin. A person, in fact, is characterized as having a name and a face.

If we take these bonds into account and if we also consider that the recognition of the mystery of the human being as person was possible, in history, thanks to the Christian effort to understand God as Trinity, then we will also approach the most intimate mystery of the Christian faith: the novelty of Christian revelation does not consist in a new religious idea or a new ethical decision, but in a person. No one is a person more than God himself, and we human beings become more and more persons as we deepen our personal relationship with him and believe in the person in whom God has made himself recognized definitively, revealing to us his name and showing us his face, that is, to say, his Son. Jesus Christ has made the name of God accessible, and He is himself the face of God who turns toward us.

Jesus Christ as name and face of God

“Father, I have manifested your name to the men you have given me from the world” (Jn 17: 6a). With this confession in his priestly prayer, Jesus points to the fulcrum of his divine mission in our world. He naturally assumes that God, whom he calls Father and with whom he finds himself face to face, also has a name. That God has a name is the most obvious fact in the biblical image of God. The name of God is certainly an expression of the recognition of God’s nature, but, first of all, it makes it possible to call God in His essence.Just as we humans are called by our name, so too can we believers invoke the name of God.

According to Scripture, it is not we humans who give a name to God, thus forcing him to be called. Rather, God can only be called because he lets himself be called; and his name is known to us humans only because God himself has made it known to us. The personal relationship between us and God, made possible by his name, is therefore established not by us humans, but only by God. The name of God is the expression of the fundamental biblical fact that God gives himself a name and reveals himself, just as Jesus sums up his mission in the revelation of the name of God that he makes to us humans. Elsewhere, Jesus formulates his main concern and goal in life with the prayer addressed to the Father: “Father, glorify your name” (Jn 12: 28). Jesus identifies himself as the new Moses, the one who fulfills the mission of the first Moses, namely the proclamation of God’s name “Yahweh”, in an even deeper way.

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello, Italy (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

As God revealed his name to us in his Son Jesus Christ, so he has also revealed to us that he has a face, showing it to us in the Son, in accordance with what Jesus Christ himself testifies: “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father” (Jn 14, 9). With this confession, Jesus responds to the insistent request of the Apostle Philip to show him and his companions, the other apostles, the Father. Philip expresses humanity’s original desire to see the face of God and to meet him face to face. This request already passes through the Old Testament as a common thread, as eloquently testified to in the prayer of a persecuted man, in Psalm 17: “But as for me I shall behold your face in righteousness, upon awakening I shall be satisfied with beholding your form” (Psalm 17:15). Psalm 24 recalls that the search for the face of God embraces all life: “Here is the generation that seeks him, that seeks your face, God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:6).

The original desire of men, which was expressed with particular incisiveness in the Old Testament, found fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the authentic witness to the fact that God, for the Christian faith, is not a distant God and is not even a simple philosophical hypothesis about the origin of the cosmos, but is a God who has shown us his true face, who has thus given us his final word , and that, with his full and unsurpassed word of love, has addressed us, as St. John of the Cross summed up in a meaningful way referring to the fulcrum of the Christian faith: “Because in giving us, as he gave us, his Son, who is his own Word and has no other,  he told us everything and at once in this one Word, and he has nothing more to say.” In fact, there is nothing more to say, because God, in Jesus Christ, has approached us men as much as possible, revealing his name to us and showing us his true face.

Lifelong search for a face “full of blood and wounds”

The Sacrificial Lamb, Josefa de Ayala

In the light of the extreme seriousness of God’s revelation in His Son, the further question presented to us is: how exactly does the face of God look? John the Baptist provides us with the crucial answer in today’s gospel. Seeing Jesus come towards him, he says: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away sin from the world” (Jn 1:19). God, in Jesus Christ, has the face of a lamb. This face of God must make us reflect; it invites us to dwell before him.

The first time we hear it, this message may seem harmless and even a little romantic. But it assumes all its importance if we reflect on the fact that Christ has the face of a lamb and not of a lion or a wolf. But as such people expected it then, and we humans still hope today that God will use the power of a lion to undo the world and its structures and to create a new one. But Christ doesn’t have the face of a lion. Rather, it is the kings of our world who have repeatedly portrayed themselves with this image to celebrate their power in a demonstrative way. Christ does not even have the face of a wolf, an image used by ancient Rome to present itself as a redeemer thanks to its power that dictated regulatory norms. John the Baptist shows us that redemption comes not from large and powerful animals, but from the fact that Christ came to us as a lamb, in the strength of his wide-open love.

This is the deepest reason why the cross is also part of the mystery of Jesus Christ, and why, in the world, the face of Christ is always presented as a “head full of blood and wounds”. Being lamb and cross are in fact inseparably linked. Christ is the good shepherd of his people and the full realization of that figure of the servant to whom the prophet Isaiah refers, precisely because he has become lamb and has sided with the tortured lambs, to share their suffering and to save them. Jesus redeemed us by offering his life out of love. The deepest focus of Jesus’ mission is in fact love; therefore, his mission can only be accomplished on the cross, as the evangelist John testifies: “God has indeed loved the world so much that he has given his only begotten Son, so that anyone who believes in him will not be not lost, but will have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

Holy Face of Manoppello
photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

When here, in the shrine of Manoppello, we gaze upon and worship the “Holy Face”, we meet the face of a defenceless lamb and at the same time the face full of blood and wounds, because we meet the face of God’s boundless love. We are invited to venerate this image and to seek the face of God, as Pope Benedict XVI recommended during his personal pilgrimage to Manoppello: “to seek the face of Jesus must be the yearning of all of us Christians; in fact, we are ‘the generation’ who in this time seek his face, the face of the ‘God of Jacob’. Pope Benedict XVI spoke these words, referring to Psalm 105 which says: “Seek the Lord and his power, always seek his face” (Psalm 105:4).[3]

With the word “always” we are invited to ensure that our lives as Christians are focused on the desire to seek the face of the Lord in the depths of our existence at all times, and on the certainty that this desire will not come to nothing, because faith sends us the beautiful message that God has a wonderful name and a loving face. If we seek and worship his face, then our whole life will be under God’s blessing, which consists in the promise of his face: ” the Lord bless and protect you. the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face to you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26). This splendor of God’s face is the blessing we need and ask for in the celebration of the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the Lord looks at us with his face of boundless love and gives himself to us as bread of life, which is spiritual nourishment on the way to eternity, in which we will praise and adore the face of God, for ever.

The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.

A Short interview with Cardinal Koch:- “The most beautiful message we have in the Gospel.”

Holy Face of Manoppello, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

First reading:         Is 49: 3. 5-6

Second reading: 1 Cor 1: 1-3

Gospel:     Jn 1:29-34

[1]Homily for the Eucharistic celebration in the Shrine of the “Holy Face” of Manoppello, January 19, 2020.

[2]St. John of the Cross, Mount Carmel, II, 22, 3.

[3]Benedict XVI, Speaking during the pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello, the September 1 2006.

Give Testimony to the World

Baptism of Christ, Pietro Perugino

“Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God.” (JN 1:34)

Christmas has passed, festivities done, the tree taken down and decorations put away. Ho hum. Back to everyday life?  After having seen the face of the Christ Child, would the Shepherds and Magi have returned to their homes and gone about as usual? No. Seeking the Face of Jesus would have transformed their lives. To “seek the Face of God” in this life would mean seeking His Face through prayer, by reading the Scriptures, seeking Him in our neighbor, and in His Eucharistic Presence. It should transform our lives, moving our hearts to testify, and bear witness to the all the earth that Jesus is the Son of God.

The Second Sunday after Epiphany is also known as “Omnis Terra” Sunday, meaning “All the Earth.” From the words of Psalm 65, “Omnis terra adore te, Deus, et psallat tipi.”

“All the earth adore you; they sing of you, sing of your name!”

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

 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 which was known as the crown treasure of the popes. Pope Innocent III made the procession walking barefoot, from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to Spirito Santo church and hospital, giving alms to the poor and the sick along the way.

Archbishop Ganswain holding the replica of the Holy Veil of Manoppello at Spirito Santo in Rome for the Year of Mercy.

The beautiful tradition was renewed in Rome for the Year of Mercy to honor Jesus Christ who is the “Face of Mercy” by a procession on “Omnis Terra.” A replica was carried of the “Vera Icon” known as the “true image” of the Face of Christ. The original image remained at the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy,  at that time. The Holy Face of Manoppello is believed to be the cloth which covered the Face of Christ at his burial, and left a miraculous image at the Resurrection.

“Blessed the people who know you, Lord, who walk in the radiance of your Face.”

(Psalm 89:16)

 

This Veil of the Face of Christ is the same relic visited by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006   when he made a pilgrimage to the the Veil of the Holy Face shortly after being made pope in 2005. He said at that time:

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

As the Psalms say, we are all ‘seeking the Face of the Lord’. And this is also the meaning of my visit. Let us seek together to know the Face of the Lord ever better, and in the Face of the Lord let us find this impetus of love and peace which also reveals to us the path of our life. (Link)

 

 

 

Kurt Cardinal Koch contemplates the Holy Veil of Manoppello. The Veil is sheer and delicate, yet the Face is visible. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

The celebration of Omnis Terra has been continued by a feast and procession each year at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy.  This year’s main celebrant for the “Omnis Terra” Solemn Mass at the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face will be Kurt Cardinal Koch of Switzerland. He has been a cardinal since November 2010 and President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 1 July 2010. He was the bishop of Basel from 1996 until 2010.

On January 19, 2020, after a pontifical ceremony, the cardinal will bless the entire earth (urbi et orbi) with the holy relic of the Face of Jesus while giving the Aaronic blessing:

“May the Lord bless and keep you; may He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you; may He turn His Countenance toward you and give you His Peace!”  (Num. 6:22-27)

Kurt Cardinal Koch blesses the world with the Holy Face of Manoppello on Omnis Terra. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
detail of Face of Jesus on the Holy Veil from the precious manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia”

More details on the Omnis Terra event may be found in this article by Antonio Bini on the Holy Face of Manoppello Blogspot.

Let all the earth worship and praise You, O God; may it sing in praise of Your Name, O Most High. Shout joyfully to the Lord all the earth; sing a psalm in honor of His Name, praise Him with magnificence!  

–Omnis Terra Introit

Holy Veil of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

 

 

 

Apostle of the Holy Face

Venerable Padre Domenico da Cese 1915-1978
Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese 1915-1978

September 17th marks the anniversary of the death of the Holy Capuchin priest of Manoppello–the Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese.

“Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN)

As a nine year old boy in 1915, Padre Domenico predicted the devastating Avenzzano earthquake in Italy. A 6.7 earthquake hit that region the next morning, killing more than 30,000 people, including two of his sisters and burying him and his father in the rubble of their church.  A man he didn’t know pulled him from the rubble to safety, whose face he later recognized on his first visit as a friar to the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello. When Padre Domenico knelt before the “Il Volto Santo” or Face of Jesus, the miraculous veil, he exclaimed, “This is the man who saved me from the rubble!”

A short time after Padre Domenico arrived in Manoppello the people were saying, “We have received a Saint!” 

In her book, Servant of God, Padre Domenico Da Cese, O.F.M. Capuchin, An Illustrated Biography  Petra-Maria Steiner relates an example of Padre Domenico’s extraordinary gifts in the testimony of Giuseppe Orlando, whose fiancee, Anna Maria introduced him to the Padre. After spending nearly an hour in conversation, Padre Domenico suggested that Giuseppe have a mass said for his grandmother, Maria Grazia. “Giuseppe was astonished, ‘But who is she? I don’t have any grandmother by that name.’ Padre Domenico told him not to ask questions but to just say a mass for her.” So, Giuseppe had arranged for a mass for “Maria Grazia.”  Still bothered and wanting to get to the bottom of the truth, he went home and researched, and to his surprise he discovered that his father’s mother, who died when his father was only five years old, was named Maria Grazia. His father had been so young when she died that he had forgotten her name.

Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk

Like his friend and fellow Capuchin, St. Padre Pio, the humble Padre Domenico was also a mystic and stigmatist who had extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit; such as the gift of “reading souls” and bi-location. Penitents who traveled from Manoppello to go to confession with Padre Pio were admonished by him for traveling such a distance when they already had a holy priest in Manoppello.  He told them, ” Why did you come all the way here, so far? You’ve got a priest there, my spiritual son, he’s like me!” St. Padre Pio’s last documented case of bi-location, just before he died, was before the relic of the Holy Face of Jesus at the shrine of “Il Volto Santo” in Manoppello, where Padre Domenico was the rector.  Padre Pio had told his fellow Capuchins that the Holy Face of Manoppello was the greatest relic of the Church.

In September of 1968, as Padre Pio lay dying in San Giovanni Rotundo (which is about 200 km south of Manoppello in Italy), his friend Padre Domenico da Cese had just unlocked the doors of the shrine of the Holy Face one morning, and was astounded to find Padre Pio in prayer, in the choir behind the altar before the sacred image of the Face of Jesus.  St. Padre Pio spoke then to Padre Domenico saying, “I do not trust myself any more.  I am coming to an end.  Pray for me.  Good-bye until we meet in Paradise.”  Twenty-four hours later St. Padre Pio died in his cell in San Giovanni on September 23, 1968.  Testimony was later given by witnesses that Padre Domenico da Cese was seen at Padre Pio’s funeral (another case of bi-location). A film was even taken (here) which shows Padre Domenico walking slowly in Padre Pio’s funeral procession, even though Padre Domenico had never left the shrine in Manoppello.

St. Padre Pio
Image of Manoppello
Photo by Paul Badde/EWTN
The Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Padre Domenico shared with everyone his ardent love and devotion for the Holy Face of Manoppello, also known as “Il Volto Santo” — a miraculous veil which transmits supernatural beauty, and at the same time indescribable suffering. It is the Face of Mercy, Love and Peace. He would tell pilgrims, “This face is that of Jesus, and it is a great miracle, always love him.” Padre Domenico had done much research on the sheer byssus veil, the image of which is not made with any paint or pigment, and compared the iridescent quality of the colors to the wings of butterflies which also reflect iridescent color naturally.  He also made studies of the Face on the Shroud of Turin, and its similarities to the Holy Face of Manoppello.  He believed with all his heart that it was the face of the same man, and he was convinced that, like the Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Manoppello was one of the many burial cloths in Jesus’s tomb–the holy sudarium which covered the Face of Jesus in death–and also miraculously bears witness to His Resurrection.

On September 13 of 1978 while visiting Turin to venerate the Holy Face on the Shroud during a rare exposition, Padre Domenico, who was a giant of a man, was hit by the smallest car, a Fiat, as he was stepping out into a street. After suffering for several days in a hospital, and forgiving the man who had hit him, he died on September 17th, offering his life for the Holy Face on the Veil–the Face of the man who saved him as a child.

The penetrating and gentle gaze of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
The Holy Face of Manoppello- photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

 

Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, Pray for us!
Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese…
Pray for us!

Prayer for the intercession of Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese

Oh God, you gave Padre Domenico the capacity of recognizing in the poor and the suffering the very Holy Face of your beloved Son, whose devotion he promoted with such zeal, through his intercession obtain for me the humility of heart, and simplicity of the little ones to whom you have revealed the secrets of the Kingdom, and in my hour of trial give me the strength to overcome the seductions of evil in order to put Satan to flight, and to merit, at the end of my earthly pilgrimage, to be able to contemplate the Holy Face of Jesus in the glory of paradise.
Though unworthy as I am of your Divine favors, I ask that you might grant, through the intercession of your faithful servant Padre Domenico, the grace I humbly ask of you…   
 Amen. 

+++

To learn more about his incredible life and passionate love for the Holy Face you can watch this wonderful video of his life: The Long Road Fr. Domenico, from Cese to Turin (click here)

Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner has also written his biography, now in English,  Servant of God, Padre Domenico Da Cese, O.F.M. Capuchin, An Illustrated Biography   

Click here for Padre Domenico da Cese FaceBook page 

Video on the Holy Face of Manoppello by Sr. Pertra-Maria Steiner explaining the wondrous properties of this mysterious veil:

 

New book on the Servant of God Padre Domenico Da Cese

Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese Born: March 27, 1905 Died:Sept. 17, 1978

A new book will be available in May about the life of the Servant of God Padre Domenico Da Cese, the holy Capuchin, and former Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello. Padre Domenico spent countless hours praying before the Holy Veil which miraculously bears the image of the Face of Jesus.  Like his friend and fellow Capuchin St. Padre Pio the humble Padre Domenico was a mystic and stigmatist who had extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit.

(For more about St. Padre Pio’s last case of bilocation and Padre Domenico click here.)

As a nine-year-old boy in 1915, Padre Domenico predicted the devastating Avenzzano earthquake in Italy. A 6.7 earthquake hit that region the next morning, killing more than 30,000 people, including two of his sisters and burying him and his father in the rubble of their church.  A man he didn’t know pulled him from the rubble to safety, whose face he later recognized on his first visit as a friar to the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello. When Padre Domenico knelt before the “Il Volto Santo” or Face of Jesus, the miraculous veil, he exclaimed, “This is the man who saved me from the rubble!”  He remained at the Shrine as Rector until the time of his death in 1978.

Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese (1915-1978) before the Veil of Manoppello

Padre Domenico is considered to be the first to make the connection between the Holy Face of Manoppello and the Face on the Shroud of Turin. He firmly believed both to be the burial cloths of Jesus, and the sudarium veil in particular, to be a sign of the Resurrection.

Sr. Petra-Maria and the Holy Face   Photo: Patricia Enk

The book now printed in English,  Servant of God, Padre Domenico Da Cese, O.F.M. Capuchin, An Illustrated Biography   was written by Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner, who is well known by pilgrims to the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face for her joyful devotion to the Holy Face, as well her encyclopedic knowledge of all that pertains to the holy relic and to the Servant of God, Padre Domenico. The book may be purchased by contacting: PadreDomenicoVoltoSanto@gmail.com

 

Sr. Petra-Maria speaking to pilgrims about the Holy Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Patricia Enk

Burn within us Holy Fire

Holy Spirit Window in Loreto, Italy

Burn within us, Holy Fire, so that chaste in body and pure of heart, we may desire to see the Face of God.

We are temples of the Holy Spirit (photo: Patricia Enk)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2Cor 3:17-18) 

Rose petals like “tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit” tossed before the Holy Face of Manoppello. photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Be sure to see the video from the previous post of Cardinal Tagle.  The light and fire of the Holy Spirit shines on his face as Cardinal Tagle speaks of his experience of seeing the Holy Face of Manoppello in person for the first time. (or click here)

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Holy Face of Manoppello

This incredibly powerful testimony is in Italian, but English closed captions have now been added.  Cardinal Tagle’s conversation with Antonio Bini– The Cardinal said that it seemed that the Holy Face welcomed him and smiled at him! He says, “The Face of Truth and Love!”  Cardinal Tagle’s face says it all! (Just click on the arrow to play the video and be sure to click on cc for closed captioning.)

Cardinal Tagle and journalist Antonio Bini

Italian journalist Antonio Bini said the video interview came about spontaneously in the heart of a friendly conversation.  Antonio found Cardinal Tagle to be “an extraordinary person of humility, spirituality, wisdom and culture.”  In the video Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle radiates the joy of the Holy Spirit, reflecting the Truth and Love he found in the Holy Face.  The Cardinal shares his thoughts directly and sincerely from his heart with Antonio Bini.  Antonio is the author of the book shown in the video, “The Holy Face, from Manoppello to the World” which is a treasure trove of information about the Holy Veil of Manoppello.  Cardinal Tagle also has an encouraging  message in English for “Friends of the Holy Face” who spread this devotion:  (click here)

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as he prepares for Solemn Mass at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face (Photo: Antonio Bini)

Here is the English transcript of the video, that can be read thanks to Raymond Frost:

Cardinal Tagle:  “I saw the Holy Face under the changing of the light, not only a Face of tenderness, but of welcoming.  I saw a Face smiling at me, almost saying, “Welcome Luis Antonio!”  It is a Face that speaks, it is alive, yes, it is the message, the Word is the Face, yes (referring to the book in the foreground) “Holy Face to the World”, Fr. Carmine sent this to me.  It is also a Face turned towards me, but I did not feel fear, fear in front of a judge, or of a face which condemns.  A Face of Truth, and the Truth is love, love wins out over fear.  I thought this afternoon perhaps this is the Last Judgement–it is not a judgement full of fear and dread, but in front of pure love–I do not want to hide myself.  There is no reason to hide myself, but, there is only the reason to open my heart in front of a Face open to love, open to welcoming, open to pardoning my mistakes.  It is an experience of liberation, and religious experience for me.”  

Padre Carmine Cucinelli, Rector of Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face and Cardinal Tagle (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

For more on Cardinal Tagle’s visit you may read “It is the Lord” by Paul Badde/CNA, which may be found by clicking (here)

Cardinal Tagle’s blessing with the precious relic of the Veil of Manoppello (photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

Feast of the Holy Face – Homily of Cardinal Tagle

Cardinal Tagle elevates the Eucharist at a Solemn Mass in honor of the Feast of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Italy (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)
Cardinal Tagle delivers homily at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

Homily, Solemn Eucharistic Celebration

Basilica of the Holy Face, Manoppello
21 May 2017
Sixth Sunday of Easter [Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; I Peter 3:15-18, John 14:15-21]
+ Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We thank our God, who, always filled with love and benevolence towards us, has gathered us as one family of faith for the solemn celebration of the Holy Face of Manoppello. I bring you warm greetings and wishes of peace from the Philippines, where the devotion to the Holy Face is alive, vibrant and widespread. Celebrating the Eucharist with you on this sixth Sunday of Easter gives me great joy. 

In the Gospel that we just listened to, Jesus told His disciples, “In a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me, because I live and you will live.” These words are fulfilled now in our assembly, in our hearing. We see Jesus’ Face now. We can see Him because He is alive, He is in our midst now. And seeing His Face, we do not die, contrary to the fear of the people of old that seeing the Face of God would mean death for them. On the contrary, seeing Jesus’ Holy Face we draw the life and energy which comes from Him. This is a profound blessing granted to us, now. This gives us a foretaste of eternal life, where we hope to behold the Face of God in eternal contemplation and adoration. Seeing Jesus, we live!

How could it be possible for us to see Jesus? As sinners, we do not have the merit nor the right to see His Face. But we see Him and we live! How could this happen? The answer comes from Jesus in the Gospel of today, “Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” Strictly speaking, we do not see the Face of Jesus. It is more accurate to say that He reveals His Face to us. He shows His Face, and so we see. This is pure grace. This is pure and total love on the part of Jesus. He manifests His Face, His true self, for no other reason than for the love He has for us. Allow me to share with you three points useful for reflection.

First, when Jesus shows His Face to us, He does not look at His own Face. He looks at us.  Even our daily experience, when we show our face to other people, we look at them, not at ourselves. This is love: in showing my face I become someone who sees others, who hears others, who understands others, who feels for others. Showing one’s face means that I spend less time looking at my own face, my activities, my needs, my comfort or wellbeing, my interests, and instead that I devote more time to looking at the face of others, of those who suffer. This is the love that the Holy Face of Jesus shows us. He is interested in us, He is for us, He looks at us more than He looks at Himself. The devotees of the Holy Face must be like Him. Is our gaze directed only at ourselves, our immediate group, those closest us us or are we learning from Jesus who penetrates the hearts of others with His loving gaze?

Second, the Face of Jesus, a loving and other-centered face is also a face that speaks. Even when our lips do not utter “audible” words, our face can speak “visible” words. He said in the Gospel, “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.” His Face is not only seen but heard. Jesus’ Face is the human face of the Word of God, now heard and seen especially in His Commandments. In our time, people look at rules as something negative. But the Commandments of the Lord are not burdens to make our life more difficult, not tools to destroy our freedom, not mechanisms of condemnation of our weak and fragile persona. His Commandments are paths to peace, liberty and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Face we see the person who fulfilled the commandment to love God above all and one’s neighbor as oneself. His Commandments are visible in Him who told us, “Come to Me…Take My yoke upon your shoulders and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke, in Face, is easy and My burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30). The devotees of the Holy Face are called to listen attentively to Jesus who is the visible Word of peace, of freedom, of forgiveness and of love.  

Finally, what we have seen and heard, we must share with others. In the first reading, Philip proclaimed in Samaria the Jesus that he had seen and heard. His preaching was accompanied by visible signs of healing and liberation. The Face of Jesus was seen and heard in Philip’s testimony. In the second reading, Peter tells those who are undergoing trials and persecution to be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in them. The answer is simple: Jesus! He is our sure hope. His love for us and triumph over death is the reason why we have hope. But Peter reminds us to proclaim our hope with gentleness and respect, with a clear conscience and integrity of life, with readiness to suffer for doing good rather than for doing evil. In other words, we best proclaim Jesus if others see and hear Jesus in us.

We see the Face of Jesus because He reveals His Face to us, the Face of the loving God. His is the Face of God turned towards us and not centered on Himself. His is the Face of the One who fulfilled the commandment of love. As we see and hear His Face may our faces be transformed into His Holy Face. Through the testimony of our faces, may the suffering people of the world know that Jesus sees them, listens to them, cares for them and loves them. Amen.

Holy Face “Il Volto Santo” of Manoppello, photo: Paul Badde

My grateful thanks to Paul Badde/EWTN for sharing his beautiful photos and to Raymond Frost for the English translation of Cardinal Tagle’s inspiring homily.

 “what we have seen and heard we must share with others”–Cardinal Tagle

More on Cardinal Tagle’s visit to Manoppello “The Face of Truth” by Antonio Bini may be read (here).

Feast of the Holy Face and May Procession in Manoppello

Rector of the Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face, Padre Carmine Cucinelli and Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines, together with the faithful, in solemn procession of the Holy Face (Photo by Antonio Bini)
Holy Face of Manoppello, photo: Patricia Enk

Sunday, May 21st, was a day of great celebration and joy, commemorating the arrival of the Holy Veil, bearing a miraculous image of the Face of Jesus, to Manoppello, Italy, centuries ago. The town of Manoppello welcomed Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines, who presided at the Solemn Mass and Procession of the Veil of the Holy Face from the Basilica Shrine to San Nicholas Church in the city center.  The Veil is to be brought back to the Sanctuary Basilica the next day.

The recorded history tells of the arrival, in May, of the Veil in Mannoppello, “in around 1506,” in the hands of a mysterious stranger who was thought to have been a holy angel, who gave the precious relic to a local doctor, who later gave it to the local Capuchins for safe-keeping. (The history of the arrival of the Veil may be read here).

Solemn Procession celebrating the Feast of the Holy Face in Manoppello (photo by Antonio Bini)

Thank you to Raymond Frost at Holy Face of Manoppello blogspot (here) for the news and beautiful photos of Antonio Bini, who will have more to report on the celebrations. (More here)

Padre Cucinelli, Sr. Blandina and Cardinal Tagle in prayer

What does it mean to be “a Veronica?”

Was there actually a St. Veronica?  It is an important question, and a very personal one to me, as Veronica was my chosen patron Saint for Confirmation as a child; the name is part of my own identity and life’s devotion to the Face of Jesus Christ. “Bernice Veronica” is a family name–both names referring to the Woman who wiped the Face of Jesus, commonly depicted in every Catholic church, at the Sixth Station of the Cross. Veronica is now also the name of one of my granddaughters. So, whether there is an actual person, a saint named “Veronica” who wiped the Face of Jesus, is a question that I have sought to know the truth about for most of my life. Did she exist? And what does it mean to be “a Veronica?”

Veronica’s Veil, Flemish 15th Century

“St. Veronica” 

The Catholic Church tells us that a veil bearing a miraculous image of the Face of Jesus has existed since the earliest centuries, recorded in history and in art. Explanations for the existence of such a veil were all different (see “Four Stories, One Face“). About the time this miraculous veil first appeared in Rome, in the Middle Ages, the name “Veronica” referred to the veil itself–“Veronica” meaning “vera” or true, and “icon” meaning image, or even more precisely, “to be present.” Those who gazed upon the veil bearing the true Face of Jesus stood in God’s presence. They were turned toward His Face.

Legends sprang up sometime later about a woman named “Veronica,” who was sometimes associated with the woman “Berenice” or “Bernice,” the bleeding woman who touches the hem of Jesus’s garment in the Gospel.  There is a version, written in 1191 by Robert de Boron, that tells of a woman named “Veronica” wiping sweat from the Face of Jesus. The stories are many and varied, but the legend that most people are familiar with today is traced to a version by Roger d’Argenteuil in the 1300s, which tells of a woman “Veronica,” associated with the sixth station of the Cross–the compassionate woman, wiping the Face of Jesus on the way to Calvary with a cloth, upon which He leaves an image of His Face.

“These pious traditions cannot be documented, but there is no reason why the belief that such an act of compassion did occur should not find expression in the veneration paid to one called Veronica.” The Catholic Encyclopedia   

 

Pope St. John Paul II expressed the answer to the question of Veronica most beautifully in his poem, “The Name:”

In the crowd walking towards the place

[of the Agony]–

did you open up a gap at some point or were you

[opening it] from the beginning?

And since when? You tell me, Veronica.

Your name was born in the very instant

in which your heart

became an effigy: the effigy of truth.

Your name was born from what you gazed upon.

–Karol Wojtyla

Miraculous Holy Face Veil Photo: Paul Badde (see “Manoppello Image” tab)

Since the detailed historical facts about the veil itself cannot be verified with absolute certainty in this life, the more important and answerable question is, “What does it mean to be a Veronica?”

“Your name was born from what you gazed upon.” 

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

Way of the Cross, Sixth Station, Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, San Giovanni Rotondo, “Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus”