The Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI – The Holy Face

Basilica Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

Below is a translation (from German and Italian) of a remembrance of Pope Benedict XVI, written by his friend, Paul Badde, which was read on the recent occasion of the Solemn celebration of “Omnis Terra,” January 15, 2023, at the Basilica Sanctuary Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppelo, Italy:

Benedict’s Legacy

by Paul Badde

On December 31st, an honorary German citizen of Manoppello died with these Italian words on his lips, “Signore ti Amo” (“Lord, I love you”): Pope Benedict XVI

Video of Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to the Sanctuary Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy, September 1, 2006.

His visit by helicopter [to Manoppello] will be here forever remembered. Countless cameras captured how he [Benedict] could not tear himself away from the sight of the Holy Face, in which the half-blind seer had just discovered “the Face of God,” and which he never tired of praising during his pontificate. Since then, he no longer waited for the end after his death, but for “an encounter;” a term which became, more or less, the center of his theology.

Pope Benedict XVI with Paul Badde on the occasion of the Pope’s pilgrimage to see The Holy Veil in 2006.

Benedict was the first pope after more than four hundred years to bend the knee before this “true image” [“Veronica”] of Christ. And even more, by his visit, Pope Benedict catapulted the Holy Image, out its hiddenness in the silence of its isolation of Abruzzo, and into the consciousness of the whole earth (“Omnis Terra”). But into a [technologically] changed world where new possibilities of digital comparisons [of images of the Holy Face] could, as never before, be identified in a definitive and concise way as the “Crown Relic of the Resurrection.” This return of the Holy Face to Christianity will forever be the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.

He [Benedict] immediately told Archbishop Bruno Forte, in German, that he was “begeistert” (enthusiastic). However, after this encounter with the Creator, the Pope requested that the pilot fly him, not by the shortest route back to Castel Gandolfo, but to make a detour over the Gran Sasso glaciers, to encounter the beauty of creation above the highest peak of the Apennines for a small echo of his happiness in Manoppello.

Fresco of ciborium, built by Pope John VII, that existed in 708 containing sudarium of the “Veronic” True Icon.

Since that day, the name of Benedict XVI has been forever associated with the “Most Holy Sudarium” of which the eyewitness John first reported in his Gospel. In this respect, Benedict’s memory is like that of Pope John VII, who in 705, when he arrived in Rome from Constantinople, during the period of Iconoclasm in the East, built the first ciborium for this Holy Sudarium [Relic of the burial cloth of the Face of Christ] in the ancient St. Peter’s Basilica, or like that of Pope Innocent III who made public, in the Latin Church, the same sacred veil [of the Holy Face] for the first time on January 16, 1208, when personally and barefoot, he carried the Holy Face in procession to Rome, from St. Peter’s to the sick of Holy Spirit Hospital in Sassia. It was the first celebration of “Omnis Terra.”

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

Seven years ago, on January 16, 2016, Padre Carmine Cucinelli [then the Rector of the Shrine] brought this festive event to our memory, and to the tradition of Manoppello, repeating the theme of procession, with the citizens of Manoppello along the same route in which we [the faithful celebrating “Omnis Terra] meet today. But this time — also for the first time — in grateful memory of Pope Benedict XVI, the “little prince” of the Catholic Church of our time.

Young Joseph Ratzinger

The last photo that exists of him shows him on December 10, 2022 with my friend, Michael Hesemann in his [Pope Benedict’s] study. [One can see] in the monastery “Mater Ecclesiae,” richly decorated with paintings, Benedict’s telephone table: To the right of an icon of St. Benedict of Nursia, he [Pope Benedict XVI] could gaze, until his last breath, at a transparent copy of the “true image” of the Holy Face — that he alone brought back to the world.

December 10, 2022, Last photo of Pope Benedict XVI, in his study with Michael Hessemann — note the telephone table to the right, with the transparent copy of the Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)
On the left: Pope Benedict’s transparent image of the Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)
“Signore ti Amo” – Pope Benedict XVI contemplates the Veil of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

My heartfelt thanks to Paul Badde for so generously sharing his photos and remembrance of Pope Benedict XVI!

Transparent Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
A Miracle of Light: The Holy Face of Manoppello (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)
Archbishop Bruno Forte carries the precious relic of the Holy Face of Manoppello. (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

 The Holy Face, Light that Illuminates the World

Homily at the Mass at the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

Sunday, January 15, 2023


+ Bruno Forte

Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto

 It was Pope Innocent III in the year 1208 who desired that the veil of the Holy Face should be carried in procession from St. Peter’s Basilica to the nearby church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. It was the second Sunday after Epiphany, called Omnis Terra Sunday from the words of the Entrance Psalm Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi! – Let the whole earth adore You, O God, and sing You hymns (Ps 65:4). At the end of that procession the Bishop of Rome wished to bless with the precious relic the sick of the Pilgrims’ Hospital, which he himself had rebuilt and upgraded. With that gesture the Pope intended to highlight the healing grace flowing from the Face of the Savior contemplated with faith and the fruitfulness of the prayer of adoration and intercession before that Face, which we contemplate in the veil of byssus venerated here in Manoppello.

Another Pope, Benedict XVI, who went to meet the Lord last December 31, wished to visit this place on September 1,  2006 to venerate the Holy Face, receiving such a profound impression that he wrote the beautiful prayer we know and also wanted permanently beside him the copy of that beloved Face. Reliable sources assure us that it is to that image that the dying Pope directed His last gaze, pronouncing the words, the true synthesis of His entire life given to Christ, to the Church and to the world: “Lord, I love you!”. The word of God proclaimed this Sunday helps us to understand Pope Benedict’s love for the Holy Face and the reasons that make the pilgrimage to this place a particular source of grace and peace: here from the Face of the risen Jesus marked by pain, but serene and radiant, the light of the Redeemer of man shines for us; Here everyone can welcome that light into his heart for his own life; from here we start with the intense desire to witness to everyone the light of that Face, to lead many to the encounter with the Savior, who profoundly changes our lives and makes us pilgrims in love towards the heavenly homeland, where the Holy Father Benedict has now entered and intercedes for us.

The text taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah (49,3,5-6) reports the promise made by the Lord to manifest His glory on His servant, Israel, whom He chose and shaped from his mother’s womb to restore the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the survivors of Israel and whom he made “light to the nations” to bring salvation from on high to the ends of the earth. In a homily given on September 24, 2011, to young people,  gathered for a prayer vigil in the Fairgrounds at Freiburg im Breisgau, Pope Benedict affirmed: “Christ, who says of himself: ‘I am the light of the world’ (Jn 8:12), makes our lives shine, so that what is said in his Gospel may be true: ‘You are the light of the world’ (Mt 5:14). It is not our human efforts or the technical progress of our time that bring light to this world. The suffering of the innocent and, finally, the death of every man constitute an impenetrable darkness that can be illuminated for a moment by new experiences, as by lightning in the night. In the end, however, a distressing darkness remains… However, we see a light: a small, tiny flame that is stronger than darkness, seemingly so powerful and unbeatable. Christ, who rose from the dead, shines in this world, and he does so most clearly precisely where according to human judgment everything seems gloomy and hopeless. He has conquered death – He lives – and faith in Him penetrates like a small light all that is dark and threatening. Those who believe in Jesus certainly do not always see only the sun in life…, but there is always a bright light that shows them a way, the way that leads to life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). The eyes of those who believe in Christ see even in the darkest night a light and already see the glow of a new day”. Yes: we believed in the light, which is the Risen Lord, and this light gives meaning to our life and to history and fills the restless hearts of us pilgrims to the heavenly city with peace and hope.

It is not we, therefore, who give ourselves light: it is Christ who gives us the light, he who – as the Apostle Paul affirms in today’s second reading, taken from  the First Letter to the Corinthians (1:1-3) – has sanctified us in himself, making us saints by vocation together with all those who everywhere call on his name. The light that liberates and saves is grace, a free and undeserved gift, offered to us  in abundance by the One who died and rose for us. Pope Benedict also recalls this in the homily cited:  “If we believe that he is the Son of God who healed the sick and raised the dead, indeed, that he himself rose from the tomb and truly lives, then we understand that he is the light, the source of all the lights of this world. We experience again and again the failure of our efforts and personal error despite our good intentions. There are still wars, terror, hunger and disease, extreme poverty and merciless repression. And even those who in history have considered themselves “bearers of light”, without however having been enlightened by Christ, the only true light, have not created any earthly paradise, but have established dictatorships and totalitarian systems, in which even the smallest spark of humanism has been stifled. Only Christ can say “I am the light of the world”… Only by starting from Him can we become an ever new light.  Of course, instead of putting a light on the lampstand, you can cover it with a bushel. Let us ask ourselves then: how often do we cover God’s light with our inertia, with our obstinacy, so that it cannot shine, through us, in the world?”  May the Lord who looks at us from the Face contemplated in this place flood us more and more with His light, freeing us from evil, making us  radiant with His light with His grace, for the salvation of every creature.

            Finally, in the passage from the Gospel according to John (1:29-34), we are entrusted with the task of bringing to the world the light that  has reached us in Jesus. John the Baptist bears witness to this, saying: “Behold the Lamb of God, the one who takes away the sin of the world!” He then traces for all of us a task, the same one that He fulfilled with His whole life: “I have beheld the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and remaining upon him. I did not know him, but the very one who sent me to baptize in water said to me: “He upon whom you will see the Spirit descend and remain, it is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit”. And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” This is our mission: to bear witness to Christ, Lord and Savior. It is once again Pope Benedict who reminds us of this on the occasion cited: “Christ is not so much interested in how many times in life we falter and fall, but in how many times we, with his help, get up again. He does not demand extraordinary actions but wants his light to shine in you. He does not call us because we are good and perfect, but because He is good and wants to make us His friends. Yes, we are the light of the world because Jesus is our light. We are Christians not because we accomplish extraordinary things, but because He, Christ, is our life. We are holy, if we allow His grace to work in us.” 

Let us ask, then, the Lord, who looks at us from His Holy Face, to fill us with His light and to be witnesses to His light  in every situation of our lives, for the benefit of every creature He will give us to meet. We do so with words taken from  the beautiful prayer that Pope Benedict sent us a year after his visit here in Manoppello: “O Lord Jesus, like the first apostles, … We too, your disciples of this difficult time,  want to follow you and be your friends, attracted by the radiance of your desired and hidden face. Show us, we beg you, your ever new face, a mysterious mirror of God’s infinite mercy. Let us contemplate him in the eyes of our mind and heart: the face of the Son, the radiance of the Father’s glory and the imprint of his substance (Cf. Heb 1:3), the human face of God who entered history to reveal the horizons of eternity. light that illuminates the darkness of doubt and sadness, life that has defeated forever the power of evil and death…  Make us pilgrims of God in this world, thirsting for the infinite and ready for the meeting of the last day… Mary, Mother of the Holy Face, help us to have “clean hands and a pure heart”, hands enlightened by the truth of love and hearts enraptured by divine beauty, so that, transformed by the encounter with Christ, we may give ourselves to the poor and suffering, in whose faces shines the mysterious presence of your Son Jesus, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen!”

Thank you to Raymond Frost for the clear translation of Archbishop Bruno Forte’s Homily!

A Gift To Be Shared

During Lent of 2016, Paul Badde lay in an induced coma for many weeks following a stroke and heart surgery. Although he was completely still in the state of a coma, he was also somehow aware of the holocausts of prayer lifted up to heaven on his behalf. God was not done with Paul; his mission had barely begun…

Paul Badde pondering the Holy Veil of Manoppello Photo: Alan Holdren
The Holy Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
The Holy Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

God lays the groundwork for our missions in life in such mysterious ways. Paul’s expertise as an art historian, and journalist led he and his wife to spend many years in the Holy Land, praying, researching, and soaking up those places where Jesus lived, walked, preached, suffered, died and rose from the dead. His path led to Rome, and took a life-changing turn in the little mountain village of Manoppello, Italy, where he came face-to face with the mysterious veil bearing the Holy Face off Jesus known as “Il Volto Santo.”

Pope Benedict XVI with Paul Badde on the occasion of the Pope’s pilgrimage to see The Holy Veil in 2006.

Years later, after much research, and many books about this remarkable veil, pilgrims from around the world have been drawn to see for themselves the mystery of light that is the living image of the Face of Jesus, “Il Volto Santo,” that exists on a whisper-thin veil that is sheer enough to read a newspaper through.

The sheer Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

When one seeks the Face of Jesus, the greatest help in the journey is to be accompanied by His Mother, Mary, who sought the Face of her Son every moment of her life. Paul had taken to heart the words of his hero, Pope St. John Paul II, when he placed the New Millennium under “the Radiant sign of the Face of Christ:”

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

And here is Paul’s labor of love, and gift to be shared — an aid to the contemplation of the Face of Jesus with Mary in praying the Rosary: “Stones and Pearls” a video series that is now available free on EWTN. Each mystery is presented biblically, beautifully, and individually, at each place of the mysteries in the life of Jesus, from the Incarnation to the Coronation. Filmed in the Holy Land and related Holy sites from around the world, the viewer is invited to join Paul on Pilgrimage to these Holy places in Jesus’s life. Paul’s insightful commentary has been translated from German to English, and the mysteries are enhanced visually by stunning works of art as well. This series has taken my own contemplation of the mysteries of Rosary to a greater understanding and depth, for which I am very grateful.

All the gifts of God are for the benefit of the whole Church and the world, so have a look at “Stones and Pearls” and enjoy!… As we contemplate, and pray the Rosary, for peace, and every intention of our hearts, we can be confident that God will “seek out the lost,” and fulfill every promise contained in each Mystery, and with each “Hail Mary.”

“Where the Word of God became flesh” The Grotto in Nazareth–the heart of Christianity. Photo by Paul Badde

“The Greatest Relic of the Church”

Update: EWTN Bookmark Interview with Paul Badde by Doug Keck may now be viewed (scroll down for Youtube video)

Holy Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

What if you had discovered something that was beyond incredible–something that was, in fact, supernatural–drawing you more deeply in love with Jesus Christ? Would you be willing to suffer skepticism, mockery, and even hostility from others in order to share this treasure of love and mercy with the world?  Well, something like that does exist: It is called the Veil of Manoppello, and Satan is enraged, because this fragile veil is turning souls toward the Face of God.

St. Padre Pio

St. Padre Pio called the Veil of Manoppello “the greatest relic of the Church.”  Shrouded in mystery for centuries, the story of what was known as “the Veronica” or the “true icon” has recently come to light, in part due to the unshakeable conviction of the author, Paul Badde, who has had the courage to tell what he knew to be true; for proclaiming that the Veil of Manoppello is one of the burial cloths of Christ — as did the Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, former Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face. So, why do so few people know about this “greatest” of relics?

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

During Holy Week we will have an opportunity to learn more about the Holy Veil, and are invited to share this precious gift with others — EWTN  will air The Human Face of God in the Holy Veil of Manoppello.  And beginning on Easter Sunday, EWTN Bookmark with Doug Keck will interview Paul Badde about his recent book, The Holy Veil of Manoppello. (Details on days and times are listed below.) Though skeptics abound, those who have actually made the pilgrimage to see it with their own eyes have this to say about the miraculous relic of a veil displayed for all the world to “come and see” in the Sanctuary Basilica of Manoppello:

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

“The Face of Christ is the first, the noblest, and the most precious treasure of the whole of Christendom — more, of the whole earth.” –Archbishop Ganswein, prefect of the Pontifical Household


“Here in Manoppello we meet the face of God face to face, and when we look at Him, His gaze cleanses and heals us, God be blessed.” –Robert Cardinal Sarah

Robert Cardinal Sarah at the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face(photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)







Joachim Cardinal Meisner with Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“The Face is the monstrance of the heart. In the Holy Face the heart of God becomes visible.”

–Joachim Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne

L-R: Archbishop Bruno Forte,  Gerhard Cardinal Müller holding the Veil of the Holy Face, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound.  It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real.  I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image.  It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting.  It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus.  The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating.  My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now.” — Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Gerhard Cardinal Müller Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Much remains hidden from the wise and prudent, that God however does reveal to lesser minds in the humility of Faith. Gazing into the most holy face of Jesus, as it was traced into the sudarium on his head, should give us new strength that our life may hold true in the eyes of God. For we believe and know that we will one day see God through and in Christ, the image of God, “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12) –Gerhard Cardinal Müller

Cardinal Tagle delivers homily at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“A Face of Truth and Love.” –Luis Antonio 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,  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.”  


Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat giving blessing with Holy Face. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“It is not an object of another time; it is the icon of the eternal Face, the Face of goodness and of friendship, of mercy and of peace. The Face that speaks, that examines, that asks, that awaits a response. It seems to say: ‘Look at me, you who are tired. Come to me and I will give you rest.’…We fix our gaze on the Holy Face and we will be transformed by God’s mercy. The sign is not an end in itself; the sign is a pointer on the way of the return, the return to the Father.”  –Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat



Pope Benedict XVI with Paul Badde on the occasion of the Pope’s pilgrimage to see The Holy Veil in 2006.

The Holy Face of Manoppello and Paul Badde(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Human Face of God in the Holy Veil of Manoppello will air on EWTN:

Monday, April 15 at 8:00 am ET

Good Friday, April 19 at 2:00 am ET

Holy Saturday, April 20 at 10:30 am ET


I only wish this fascinating interview were longer!  “It is much more easy to believe that God is dead than the living God and Resurrected Christ.” Paul’s comment hits the nail on the head about the current crisis of faith, and the deep significance of the meaning of the reappearance of this holy relic of the Face of Christ in Manoppello.

EWTN Bookmark with Doug Keck – Interview with author Paul Badde  on his book The Holy Veil of Manoppello will air:

Easter Sunday, April 21 at 9:30 am ET

re-airing on Easter Monday, April 22 at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm ET, and the following Saturday, April 27 at 1:30 pm.  It will also be broadcast on EWTN Radio (See local times)

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

Wishing you all a very blessed Holy Week and Easter!




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).