VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD? – POPE AND REFUGEES CELEBRATE HOLY THURSDAY MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

I’d like to wish the readers of “Joan’s Rome” and my Facebook page a very blessed, beautiful and Happy Easter. EWTN staff has this afternoon and all of tomorrow, Good Friday, off so as to participate in the Easter Triduum liturgies and Easter Sunday of the Resurrection. I will probably not post anything until Monday after Easter, but who knows? Stay tuned!

I do have a little note about tonight’s papal Mass of the Lord’s Supper that you might enjoy. And if you intend to follow the Way of the Cross with the Holy Father at the Colosseum tomorrow night on television, here is a link to the booklet that pilgrims will receive in Rome: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2016/documents/ns_lit_doc_20160325_via-crucis-meditazioni_en.html

VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD?

In lieu of an interview segment on “Vatican Insider” this Easter weekend is a Special I have prepared on the Shroud of Turin. This week and next I ask the question – and attempt to answer – Who is the Man of the Shrou

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As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE AND REFUGEES CELEBRATE HOLY THURSDAY MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization explained the special Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper as it will be celebrated by Pope Francis this year on the official Jubilee website-

On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will spend time in Castelnuovo di Porto with young refugees who are hosted by the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, known as the Centro di Accoglienza per Richiedenti Asilo, or CARA. The simple but eloquent visit will include the celebration of the Rite of the Washing of Feet. The Pope will stoop to wash the feet of 12 refugees as a sign of service and attention to their situation.

During the Jubilee Audience held on Saturday, 12 March, in speaking about the act of the washing of feet, Pope Francis stated: “By washing the feet of the Apostles, Jesus wished to reveal God’s mode of action in regard to us, and to give an example of his ‘new commandment’ (Jn 13:34) to love one another as He has loved us, that is, laying down his life for us.”

Delving deeper, he added that love “is the practical service that we offer to others. Love is not a word, it is a deed, a service, humble service, hidden and silent.” Indeed, “it is expressed in the sharing of material goods, so that no one be left in need.” It is, moreover, “the lifestyle that God suggests, even to non-Christians, as the authentic path of humanity.”

In light of these considerations we can understand the symbolic value intended by Pope Francis’ visit to the CARA in Castelnuovo di Porto and his bending down to wash the feet of refugees. His actions mean to tell us that it is important to pay due attention to the weakest in this historic moment; that we are all called to restore their dignity without resorting to subterfuge. We are urged to look forward to Easter with the eyes of those who make of their faith a life lived in service to those whose faces bear signs of suffering and violence.

Many of these young people are not Catholic. Therefore this gesture by Pope Francis takes on even more eloquence. It points to respect as the royal road to peace. Respect means being aware that there is another person beside me. A person who walks with me, suffers with me, rejoices with me. A person whom, one day, I may one day lean on for support. By washing the feet of refugees, Pope Francis implores respect for each one of them.

 

POPE FRANCIS PAYS FOR TRIP TO TURIN FOR 50 HOMELESS

POPE FRANCIS PAYS FOR TRIP TO TURIN FOR 50 HOMELESS

Pope Francis has paid for 50 homeless people to make a bus trip from Rome to Turin to see the celebrated Shroud of Turin. They arrive this evening, June 3, and will be welcomed by the Maria Adelaide and Cottolengo hospitals. The homeless frequent the soup kitchen run by the Santa Lucia parish in Rome and were accompanied on their trip by the pastor, Fr. Antonio Nicolai and assistant pastor, Fr. Pablo Castiglia.

The generous offer was made through the good offices of the papal almoner, Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski who also gave each of the pilgrims some spending money, calling it “a caress from the Pope.”

The travelers will be welcomed in Turin by Fr. Arco Brunetti, director of the diocesan health pastoral ministry, and by Sisters Giuseppina Fornoni and Gabriella Denti, responsible for two of the structures for pilgrims that were prepared for the period of the exposition of the Shroud, as well as volunteers.

Tomorrow Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin will accompany 40 homeless from the city to see the Shroud. This was arranged by the diocesan ministry for the homeless and the diocesan Caritas.

POPE IN SARAJEVO JUNE 6, SENDS VIDEO MESSAGE TO PEOPLE – POPE FRANCIS IN TURIN JUNE 21-22

Today, June 2 is Republic Day, a big holiday in Italy. Known in Italia as the Festa della Repubblica, it celebrates the day when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in 1946 so their country could become a republic. There was a big military parade this morning from the Colosseum on Via dei Fori Imperiali to Pza. Venezia.

The city had been at work for at least two weeks building the review stands along Via dei Fori Imperiali. My neighborhood is eerlily quiet – no stores open, people away for the four-day weekend created by building a “bridge” Monday between the weekend and today’s holiday and – the best part! – barely a sound from cars, busses, motorbikes or even the usual number of ambulances as they wend their way to nearby Santo Spirito hospital. It’s almost as if I was going deaf!

Apologies for not posting a column yesterday but it was a busy day from wake-up alarm to the very late end of the day.  I had meetings all morning, got home at 1:30 pm and had 90 minutes to have lunch and work on three scripts for “At Home with Jim and Joy.” By 3 pm I had to leave for St. Mary Major Basilica for a Mass scheduled at 4 pm celebrated by Paulist Father Paul Robichaud who was marking the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Fr. Paul had been rector of Santa Susanna’s here in Rome for nine years before returning to the States where he is now working on, among other things, a history of the Paulist Fathers. He is also the postulator for the cause of canonization of Fr. Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists.

Following Mass there was a reception at the Paulist residence, gathering together priest friends of Fr. Paul’s as well as a number of us longtime parishioners. A good time was had by all and it continued over dinner at a restaurant across the street from the rectory/residence.

If I had the gift of bi-location, I would have also attended another very important event yesterday, important for me personally. A good friend of mine, Chaldean Fr. Rayan Atto of Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq, has been studying in Rome and yesterday, at 4:30 pm at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, defended his doctoral thesis on “The Liturgical Reform of the Divine Mysteries in the Chaldean Church in the Light of the Ancient Tradition of the Oriental Church.”

In this photo Fr. Rayan is showing me around the old citadel part of Erbil

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And here I am at a kindergarten in the diocese of Mosul with Archbishop Amel Nona – Fr. Rayan is in the background…

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Fr. Rayan, who had his own parish at the time in Erbil, leads the children in song. Of the three prelates standing together, the future Archbishop of Erbil, Fr. Bashar Warda, is on the far left.

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Fr. Rayan’s defense was followed by a celebratory dinner where one of the special guests was another dear friend, Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil.  I will try to see both of them today or in coming days! The three of us met during my first trip to Iraq in 2010.

Abp. Warda’s episcopal ordination; the ceremony at the Chaldean seminary – with the archbishop at the celebratory dinner – Fr. Rayan Atto with two Dominican sisters.

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POPE IN SARAJEVO JUNE 6, SENDS VIDEO MESSAGE TO PEOPLE

(Vatican Radio) In preparation for his one-day visit to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday, Pope Francis has sent a video-message to the people of Sarajevo.

The Holy Father said that he hopes his visit will confirm the faith of Catholics, support ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and especially encourage peaceful coexistence for all citizens of the country. The motto for the visit is “Peace be with you,” taken from Jesus’ encounter with the apostles on the evening of Easter.

The apostolic visit is scheduled to last for a little less than eleven hours, but the Holy Father will be busy from the moment he lands in Sarajevo on Saturday morning until he takes off in the evening.

After he has been welcomed at the presidential palace by President Bakir Izetbegović, the highlight of the visit will be the celebration of Holy Mass at 11:00 am at the Olympic Koševo stadium.

Later, he will meet with a host of people including civil authorities, bishops, priests, religious and seminarians of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He will attend an ecumenical and interreligious meeting at 5:30 pm before travelling to the John Paul II Diocesan Youth Center to meet with young people.

The Pope said in his video-message, “I am preparing to come among you as a fellow messenger of peace, to express to everyone – everyone! – my respect and my friendship. I would like to express to every person, every family, and every community the mercy, tenderness and love of God.”

POPE FRANCIS IN TURIN JUNE 21-22

The Vatican has released the schedule of Pope Francis’ upcoming pilgrimage to Turin on June 21 and 22 in connection with the extraordinary exposition of the celebrated Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the linen that wrapped Jesus’ body in the tomb following His crucifixion.

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VIS reports that the Pope will depart Rome’s Ciampino airport at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday 21 June, arriving in Turin’s Caselle airport an hour later. Upon arrival, he will be greeted by Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, Sergio Chiamparino, president of the Piedmont region, Paola Basilone, prefect of Turin, and Piero Fassino, the city’s mayor. He will transfer by car to Piazzetta Reale, where he will address representatives of the world of work.

At 9.15 a.m. the Holy Father will enter the cathedral to pray before the Holy Shroud and to visit the altar and tomb of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. He wil do so in the presence of cloistered nuns, priests residing in clergy houses in the diocese, the Chapter of canons, the Commission for the Holy Shroud, relatives of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop emeritus of Turin, and the bishops of the episcopal conference of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta.

Afterwards, the Pope will go to Piazza Vittorio Veneto where he will concelebrate Holy Mass, deliver a homily and pray the Angelus. After Mass Francis will go to the archbishop’s residence by car, where he will lunch with detainees from the “Ferrante Aporti” detention center for minors, some immigrants and a Rom family. This will be followed by a visit to the shrine of the Consolata where he will pray privately with the priests of the community.

At 3 p.m. Pope Francis will meet with the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the basilica of the same name. He will then travel by car to the church of Cottolengo where he will address the sick and disabled faithful. At 5.30 p.m. he will return to Piazza Vittorio to meet with young people, and will retire to the archbishop’s residence where he will spend the night.

On Monday, June 22 at 9 a.m. Francis will visit the Waldensian Temple where he will be received by and address the pastors and the president of the consistory of the Evangelical Waldensian Church. At 10.15 in the archbishop’s residence, he will have a strictly private meeting with some members of his family who still live in the Italian region of Piedmont for whom he will celebrate Mass, followed by lunch.

Before leaving the archbishop’s residence, the Pope will meet the members of the Committee for the Exposition of the Shroud and the organisers of the event. At 5 p.m. He will leave for Caselle airport, and will be greeted on the way by the young people of “Estate Ragazzi.” Half an hour later he will depart by air for Rome, where he is expected to arrive at 6.30 p.m.

OFFICIAL CALENDAR PRESENTED FOR JUBILEE OF MERCY – UPDATE FROM TURIN

This is totally out of left field and unrelated to what I bring you in this daily column but here goes: Daily I receive via email a Word of the Day from dictionary.com. For some reason I found today’s word – a synonym for gobbledegook – fun and interesting (as is gobbledegook). The word is bafflegab: 1. Noun. Slang. Means confusing or generally unintelligible jargon; gobbledegook: an insurance policy written in bafflegab impenetrable to a lay person. BAF-uhl-gab

I’m sure all of us have experienced bafflegab without knowing what to call it – reading insurance policies or the fine print on airline tickets, on utility bills and the “I agree” forms when you sign up for almost anything online. You find it in instructions for the use of electronic devices (especially when it is a translation of the original Japanese or Korean), and the acres of instructions on income tax forms, insurance claim forms, etc. You get the idea.

As long as there is no bafflegab on these pages, life is good!

And now to the serious – and fascinating! – news of the day, a Vatican press conference on the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy. I’m writing a book on the Jubilee so found today’s offerings both interesting and useful.

You will also want to read my UPDATE FROM TURIN – really interesting information.

OFFICIAL CALENDAR PRESENTED FOR JUBILEE OF MERCY

One of the more fascinating press conferences I have attended in recent memory was this morning’s presentation of the Jubilee of Mercy, including the official calendar of events, by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the council to which Pope Francis entrusted the preparetion of this Holy Year.

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A number of things were remarkable about the press conference. In the first place, Pope Francis only announced the Jubilee less than two months ago, on March 13, and yet, here was the council president offering us the calendar of events that will take place at the Vatican and in Rome for the December 8, 2015-November 20, 2016 Holy Year of Mercy. For a Vatican event – perhaps for any other organization – that is extraordinary speed!

And the speed with which the website was completed is also surprising! Check it out today, with all the new additions: http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va – and if your Latin is less than perfect, you can also go to www.im.va   The website uses a number of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Flickr).

As if this was not enough, all of this – the archbishop’s presentation of the Jubilee and the contents of the website – are in 7 languages.

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Given the fact that Pope Francis’ announcement on March 13 of a Jubilee of Mercy took everyone by surprise. Archbishop Fisichella was asked when he found out! He said he had a private meeting with Pope Francis last August about a number of matters and at one point, the Pope said, “I certainly would love to have a Holy Year of Mercy.”  That sounds to me like a “your wish is my command” statement!

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In his presentation today, the archbishop noted that, “It is the Pope’s desire that this Jubilee be celebrated in Rome as well as in the local Churches; this will give due focus to the life of individual Churches and their needs, in such a way that the initiatives will not place an extra burden on local Churches, but will blend into their calendars and usual activities very naturally. Also, for the first time in the history of the Jubilee tradition, there will be an opportunity for individual dioceses to open a Holy Door – The Door of Mercy – either in the Cathedral or in a church of special meaning or a shrine of particular importance for pilgrimages.”

He underscored that this Jubilee “is based upon a theme. It will build upon the central content of the faith and intends to call the Church once again to its missionary priority of being a sign and witness in every aspect of its pastoral life. I also have in mind Pope Francis’s appeal to Judaism and Islam as loci in which to contextualize the theme of mercy in order to foster dialogue and a way of overcoming difficulties in the public realm.

We were shown the logo for the Jubilee.

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Archbishop Fisichella said, “It shows an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul, demonstrating that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation culminating in redemption.” Note, he said, that Christ carries not a lamb, but a man. He also pointed out that, “the three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the darkness of sin and death. Conversely, the depth of the darker color suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father who forgives all. “

In explaining the calendar of celebrations, the council president said, “some events are being organized which most likely will involve large crowds of people. We wanted the first event, which will be held from January 19-21, to be dedicated to all those involved with the organization of pilgrimages.” He then listed other events on the official Jubilee Year calendar (click here to see calendar: http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va/content/gdm/en/calendario.html

Archbishop Fisichella noted that, “on November 6 , we will celebrate the Jubilee for those in prison. This will be held not only in prisons but we have been studying the possibility of giving many of those in prison the opportunity to celebrate their own Holy Year with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.”

He also spoke of “meeting the needs of the many pilgrims who will come alone to Rome apart from any organized tour or tour group,” noting, “there will be a number of churches in the historic center of Rome where they will feel welcome, where they can have moments of reflective prayer and prepare themselves thoroughly to walk through the Holy Door in an atmosphere of genuine spiritual devotion.”

UPDATE FROM TURIN

FOR THE ILL: For the first time in the history of public expositions of the Shroud of Turin, tomorrow, May 6 will be dedicated not only to the ill and disabled, as the cathedral does every Wednesday, but to persons affected with very grave pathologies. The Medical Services of the Exposition Committee has instituted a procedure whereby all sick people, including those in wheelchairs or on stretchers will be able to directly access the immediate waiting area of the cathedral, thus by-passing the brief path normally reserved to the disabled. Following verification by the medical staff, the disabled will be assigned a reservation time between 4:30 and 5:30 pm. They will be accompanied by volunteers and the very ill will be assisted throughout the visit by their own doctor. An estimated 600 ill and disabled are expected tomorrow.

CONFESSIONS: For those wishing to confess before or after their visit to the shroud, the Sacrament of Penance is being offered in front of the cathedral of Turin where 6 confessionals have been placed, in addition to the four confessionals at the Church of Santo Spirito in Via Porta Palatina. One hundred ninty-four (194) priests have offered their services for the entire period of the exposition of the Shroud of Turin: 51 are from the diocese of Turin and 143 for other dioceses. The priests speak Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Rumanian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Arabic, Swahili, Indonesian and Malayalam. It is above all adults between the ages of 45 and 65 who have been going to confession, 70% of whom are women. Of those who confess, 85% do so after having seen the Shroud of Turin.

VISITORS: Among today’s visitors from around the world was a family from Cambodia with their 11 children.  Yesterday’s visitors included a group of 20 Catholics from Moscow, led by Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, archbishop of Moscow’s Mother of God Catholic archdiocese. Abp. Pezzi gave Turin’s archbishop and the people of the diocese a book about the metropolitan cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He explained the ties between the Shroud – which he and his group saw for the first time in their lives – and their church in Moscow. The archbishop has been the metropolitan in Moscow for eight years. His diocese is 6 times the size of Italy and has 65 parishes.

CHILDREN AND THE SHROUD:  At the official Shroud of Turin bookstore in Piazza Castello, a corner is reserved for little children where a DVD is shown throughout the day entitled “Mystery after Mystery. It is an animated cartoon produced in Turin with the sponsorship of the Shoud Exposition Committte. It is divided into various parts, each lasting two minutes, that tell the story of the Shroud.

 

POPE FRANCIS IN TURIN JUNE 21-22: WILL PAY HOMAGE TO SHROUD, MEET, PRAY AND DINE WITH COUSINS – THE EXHIBITION OF THE HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN

POPE FRANCIS IN TURIN JUNE 21-22: WILL PAY HOMAGE TO SHROUD, MEET, PRAY AND DINE WITH COUSINS

A press conference was held this morning in the Vatican to present the agenda for Pope Francis’ visit to Turin in June and to explain the program for the 67-day exhibit that will feature the celebrated Shroud of Turin.

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Turin in northern Italy about 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 21 and, a half hour later, will meet with representatives of the world of work in the Piazzetta Reale. He will then proceed to the cathedral where he will pray before the Holy Shroud as well as before the altar of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. At 10.45 a.m. he will celebrate the Eucharist in Piazza Vittorio and will recite the Sunday Angelus prayer.

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Following Mass and the Angelus, the Pope will proceed to the archbishop’s residence to lunch with young detainees from the “Ferrante Aporti” penitentiary for minors, several immigrants and homeless people, and a Rom family.

At 2.40 p.m. the Holy Father is scheduled to visit the shrine of the Consolata, pausing for a brief period of private prayer. At 3 p.m., in the basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, he will meet with Salesians, who are marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of their founder, St. John Bosco, and the Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians. An hour later, in the Church of Cottolengo, he will meet with the sick and disabled.

Returning to Piazza Vittorio at 6 p.m., Francis will meet with young people of the city, after which he will retire to the archbishop’s residence. The Pope will surely speak of Pier Giorgio Frassati when he meets with the youth of the city and archdiocese.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who died in 1925 at the age of 24, is as beloved now by Italian youth as he was at the time. Born into a very wealthy family, Pier Giorgio was an avid sportsman, had a great sense of humor, loved to be with his friends but, above all, loved helping those who were poor or sick or somehow disadvantaged. A Catholic social activist, he was a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic.

Frassati’s father, a self-proclaimed agnostic, founded the newspaper La Stampa and was active in national politics, serving in the Italian Senate and later as the country’s ambassador to Germany.

Young Pier Giorgio was not the apple that fell close to the tree: in fact, he was dedicated to works of social action, charity, prayer and community, and involved with Catholic youth and student groups, often keeping some his charitable works from his parents. In fact, when he died at 24, PierGiorgio’s parents naturally expected family and high ranking political friends to attend the funeral but were stunned when droves of people from all walks of life, including the poorest of the poor, flocked to the church to pay their respects.

In 1989 Pope John Paul II visited his tomb and paid homage to him, calling him a man of the Beatitudes.  Hebeatified Pier Giorgio on May 20, 1990.

The Pope’s visit to Turin continues on Monday 22 when, at 9 a.m., he will visit the Valdese Temple.

Returning to the archbishop’s residence, Francis will meet privately with some of his relatives, celebrating a Mass for them in the chapel and having lunch with them afterwards.

Before his departure from “Torino Caselle” airport, he will pay a short visit to the members of the Committee of the Shroud, the organizers and supporters of his visit.

THE EXHIBITION OF THE HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN

(VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the upcoming exhibition of the Holy Shroud of Turin (Turin, 19 April – 24 June 2015), on the occasion of the second centenary of the birth of St. John Bosco, which will be especially dedicated to the young and to those who suffer. The Pope will also make a pilgrimage to Turin from 21 to 22 June.

Speakers at the conference included Archbishop Cesare Nosaglia of Turin, papal guardian of the Shroud; Elide Tisi, Turin mayor; Roberto Gottardo, president of the diocesan commission for the Shroud; and Rev. Luca Ramello, director of the youth ministry for the diocese.

Archbishop Nosaglia explained that the Shroud represents, for the Universal Church, a point of reference of the first order for the faith life of many people and communities who recognize, in this image, the signs of the Lord’s passion, of a Jesus who “inspires our lives and challenges us to fully realize our deepest vocation. Therefore,” he added “the theme I have chosen for the next exhibition is ‘The Greatest Love’: the gift of salvation which is made visible in our response, the worship of God and service to our brothers”.

The archbishop noted that, “the Pope’s trip, like the exhibition as a whole, is also intended to give thanks for ‘the Saint of youth’, and for the service that the Salesian family carries out in Turin and throughout the world in the fields of education, mission, sport and communication. … The world of youth is particularly involved in the Salesian mission, and during the Pope’s visit there will be a sort of mini Youth Day, a series of meetings, encounters, prayer, moments of celebration that help resume contact with the young. An extraordinary sign will be the presence of the World Youth Day Cross, which will make a stop in Turin during its journey to Krakow.”

Another special mark of this exhibition will be attention to the world of those who suffer. This year those pilgrims who are sick or disabled, along with those who accompany them, will be able to benefit from new hospitality structures based on the model of the “Accueil” in Lourdes. It is also hoped that the pilgrimage to the Shroud will offer an opportunity to partake in the sacrament of Reconciliation, as a “concrete sign of forgiveness” and, as on previous occasions, “in various places priests will hear the confessions of the faithful in all the world’s major languages.”

Archbishop Nosaglia emphasized that the 2015 exhibition has been organized according to the criterion of austerity, given the period of severe economic and social crisis throughout the area, and he thanked those entities that have offered their cooperation to help limit costs as far as possible.

He also announced that during the display of the Shroud, Beato Angelico’s celebrated “Lamentation over the Dead Christ” will be exhibited in the diocesan museum, on loan for the occasion from the city of Florence.

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“As you are aware, visiting the Shroud is completely free. Traditionally many pilgrims leave a simple offering at the end of their journey, deposited with full discretion at the exit of the Cathedral and in the places of confession. On this occasion all the offerings will be given to the Pope when he is with us in Turin on 21 June. We will ask him to use them, naturally with full freedom, for a work, or a project to assist the poorest or neediest.”

NOTE FROM JOAN: If you intend to be in Turin during the period of the exhibition of the Shroud, you must register at the following site to reserve a day and time for a visit: www.sindone.org

This is the official website and it is in several languages. “Sindone” means “shroud” in Italian.

THE MAN OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN – “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”

THE MAN OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN – “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”

Today, as he greeted the pilgrims after the general audience catechesis and summaries in different languages, Pope Francis said, “I am pleased to announce that, God willing, next June 21 I will go on pilgrimage to Turin to venerate the Holy Shroud and to honor Saint John Bosco on the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth.”

The Shroud, with its outline of a supine male figure is believed to be the burial cloth that wrapped the body of Jesus as he lay in the tomb following his crucifixion. It will be displayed for veneration by the faithful for just over two months, from April 19 to June 24, 2015 in Turin’s cathedral. The theme of the exposition is “The Greatest Love.”

The 14 foot 3 inch by 3 and a half-foot linen cloth in a fishbone weave shows the frontal and dorsal images of a crucified man, about 5 foot 10 inches in height, whose body shows signs of having been whipped and on whose head was placed a helmet-like crown of thorns. The burial cloth or Shroud has bloodstains as well as a parallel set of burn marks that run down the sides of the cloth. These appeared when the silver reliquary in which the Shroud was kept in a chapel in France was partially burned in a fire and molten silver fell onto the cloth that was folded eight times over – thus the symmetrical burn marks. It also shows watermarks from the water used to douse that fire on December 4, 1532. From April 14 to May 2, 1534 the Poor Clare Sisters of Chambery tried to mend the Shroud by sewing on triangular patches of fabric.

The 2015 viewing will be the 25th time since the Shroud was transferred from Chambery, France to Turin in 1578 by Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy. The Shroud was in the Savoy family until 1983 when King Umberto II, the last Duke of Savoy who was deposed in 1946 and died in 1983, bequeathed the linen to the Holy See but the Pope left the relic in the care of the Archbishop of Turin. It was on display in 1978 to mark the fourth centenary of its transfer to Turin, and again in 1998 on the occasions of the 500th anniversary of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin and the centennial of the first photograph of the Shroud taken in 1898 by Secondo Pia, a photograph whose negative revealed the front and dorsal blood-stained images of a crucified man who had been whipped and whose head was covered with a crown of thorns. In recent decades dozens of tests have been done on very small pieces or threads of the linen that the archbishop of Turin allowed to be taken from the Shroud. Carbon dating tests were done in 1988 but have basically proved inconclusive. Most of the evidence, including coins from a Roman era that cover the eyes of the Man of the Shroud, traces of many types of pollens, including one now extinct pollen found only in Palestine two millennia ago, that would bear out the linen’s journey from the Middle East through modern day Turkey and Syria to France and Italy, indicates this piece of linen is 2000 years old. It does not prove the Man was Jesus.

No Pope has ever made a definitive pronouncement about the Shroud. Pope Francis had expressed his desire to venerate the Shroud, and Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin said today in a press conference that the longer time frame was chosen to facilitate a visit by the Holy Father. Francis did say in the early days of his papacy that, “the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. ….(it is an image that) “speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.”

In 2015 the diocese of Turin will also be marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Saint John Bosco, patron of Catholic schools.

Presenters at today’s press conference, according to a VIS report, noted that this will be the third time the Shroud has been displayed to the public during this millennium. The event will focus on two themes: the young, and those who suffer. It is precisely for this reason that the Pope has allowed the solemn exposition, which coincides with the Jubilee for the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco.

As on previous occasions, special attention will be paid to the sick who visit the Holy Shroud. The pastoral ministry for healthcare in Turin will make two reception centers available for pilgrims and carer-givers. In addition, with the collaboration of more than 3500 volunteers, moments of prayer will be held, and a confessional service in different languages will be available in locations in the area near the Cathedral.

The visit will be free of charge but booking is obligatory, to enable the effective management of the flow of pilgrims. Booking is online, at www.sindone.org

I took the following photos on my 2010 visit to Turin:

The church was in almost total darkness and it took me about 10 minutes to acclimate myself. No flashes were allowed inside the church. The side aisles are closed off and people who come in to pray can only go half way up the center aisle – the rest is set off for visitors with reservations. However, no matter were you are in the church, you can see the Shroud – lit from behind, it is this white glowing object above the main altar.

TURIN - St. John cathedralTURIN - Shroud 1TURIN - Shroud 2Turin - Shroud 3

I spent quite some time in prayer, having promised many people I would pray for their special intentions. I spent quite some time in reflection, looking at the Shroud, thinking of what I had studied and learned about this 2000-year old piece of cloth, thinking of the Man whose body it wrapped.

Jesus asked His disciples: “And who do you say I am?”

POPE FRANCIS TO ROTA: “THE ANNULMENT PROCESS MUST BE KEPT SEPARATE FROM ECONOMIC INTERESTS” – BISHOPS ARE AT SERVICE OF “SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD” OF THE CHURCH – POPE FRANCIS ANNOUNCES 2015 VISIT TO SHROUD OF TURIN – NEW NORMS ON RESIGNATIONS OF BISHOPS, CURIAL OFFICIALS

POPE FRANCIS TO ROTA: “THE ANNULMENT PROCESS MUST BE KEPT SEPARATE FROM ECONOMIC INTERESTS”

Before arriving in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience, Pope Francis made two stops in the Paul VI Hall: the first to speak to participants in the course on marriage organized by the Roman Rota, and the second to greet the faithful who are ill or disabled who were inside today because of the threat of rain.

In his remarks to those taking the Roman Rota course, Francis noted that during the recent synod of bishops on the family, a number of bishops pointed to the need for annulment procedures to be streamlined for reasons of justice. He mentioned the many people who wait for years for a judgment to be reached, saying, “sometimes the procedures are very long and difficult, which does not help matters, and people give up.” Some might even leave the Church.

The Holy Father emphasized the importance of the course his guests were taking and the need to be careful to ensure that the procedures do not become linked to economic interests, referring to public scandals. He noted that during the Synod some proposals had been made regarding the costs of the process. “When spiritual interest is attached to economic interests, then it not a matter of God.” He said, “Mother Church has enough generosity to be able to provide justice freely, as we are freely justified by Jesus Christ. This point is important – these two issues must be separate.”

The Tribunal of the Roman Rota is the Court of Appeals of the universal Church for the Latin Church, for the Oriental Churches, and for the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Vatican City. The origins of this tribunal date back to the 12th century. The name “Rota” is derived from the circular enclosure in which the auditors sat when they gathered to judge cases.

BISHOPS ARE AT SERVICE OF “SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD” OF THE CHURCH

On his second stop this morning in the Paul VI Hall, before going to St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience, Pope Francis briefly visited pilgrims who were in some way ill, suffering or disabled, together with their families and care-givers. “You can stay here without getting wet,” he said, referring to the leaden skies over Rome and the threat of rain. “It is dangerous, it might rain, it might not rain, we just don’t know!” The Pope and faithful then recited the Haily Mary, and he said afterwards, “Don’t forget to pray for me as I pray for you.”

Pope Francis was then taken by jeep to St. Peter’s Square, circling the great piazza and greeting the faithful. The catechesis began promptly at 10, under leaden skies and a very strong wind that blew the papal cape around his face a few times and could also be heard in microphones broadcasting the audience.

The Holy Father’s continuing catechesis on the Church today focussed on her hierarchy. He said, “we have seen that the Holy Spirit constantly bestows his gifts in building up the Body of Christ. Among these gifts are the ordained ministries. Through the sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops, priests and deacons are called to guide and protect Christ’s flock, above all though the celebration of the sacraments that give us new life in Christ.”

The Pope asked those present to pray for bishops, that they may be men of virtue: “It isn’t easy,” he noted. “We are all sinners, so pray for us”.

“The Church is both hierarchical and maternal,” he explained. “Her ordained ministries are at the service of her spiritual motherhood. This is especially clear in the case of bishops, who are called to lead the Christian community as living signs of the Lord’s presence in our midst. Like the Apostles whose successors they are, the Bishops form one college in communion with the Pope. This collegiality is seen not only in special assemblies like the recent Synod but also in the daily communion of Bishops throughout the world.”

Continuing, but in unscripted remarks, Francis said, “We understand, therefore, that it is not a position of prestige, an honorary role. The Bishop is not an honorary role it is a service.  Jesus wanted it this way. There should not be room in the church for a worldly mentality. A worldly mentality speaks of a man who has an ‘ecclesiastical career and has become a bishop’. There should be no place for such a mentality in the Church. The Bishop serves, it is not a position of honor, to boast about.”

He said the many bishops who are saints show us that one does not seek this ministry, one does not ask for it, it cannot be bought, one accepts it in obedience, not in an attempt to climb higher but to lower oneself, just as Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient unto to death, even death on a cross.” The Pope added, “It is sad when we see a man who seeks this office and does all he can to get it and when he gets it does not serve, instead goes around like a peacock and lives only for his vanity”.

The Holy Father stated that, “bishops are also called to express one single college, gathered around the Pope, who is the guardian and guarantor of this profound communion that was so dear to Jesus and His apostles. … It is beautiful when the bishops, with the Pope, express this collegiality, despite living in places, cultures, sensibilities and traditions that are different and distant from each other.”

POPE FRANCIS ANNOUNCES 2015 VISIT TO SHROUD OF TURIN

As he greeted the pilgrims after the general audience catechesis and summaries in different languages, Pope Francis said, “I am pleased to announce that, God willing, next June 21 I will go on pilgrimage to Turin to venerate the Holy Shroud and to honor Saint John Bosco on the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth.”

The Shroud, with its outline of a supine male figure is believed to be the burial cloth that wrapped the body of Jesus as he lay in the tomb following his crucifixion. It will be displayed for veneration by the faithful for just over two months, from April 19 to June 24, 2015 in Turin’s cathedral. The theme of the exposition is “The Greatest Love.”

The 14 foot 3 inch by 3 and a half-foot linen cloth in a fishbone weave shows the frontal and dorsal images of a crucified man, about 5 foot 10 inches in height, whose body shows signs of having been whipped and on whose head was placed a helmet-like crown of thorns. The burial cloth or Shroud has bloodstains as well as a parallel set of burn marks that run down the sides of the cloth. These appeared when the silver reliquary in which the Shroud was kept in a chapel in France was partially burned in a fire and molten silver fell onto the cloth that was folded eight times over – thus the symmetrical burn marks. It also shows watermarks from the water used to douse that fire on December 4, 1532. From April 14 to May 2, 1534 the Poor Clare Sisters of Chambery tried to mend the Shroud by sewing on triangular patches of fabric.

The 2015 viewing will be the 25th time since the Shroud was transferred from Chambery, France to Turin in 1578 by Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy. The Shroud was in the Savoy family until 1983 when King Umberto II, the last Duke of Savoy who was deposed in 1946 and died in 1983, bequeathed the linen to the Holy See but the Pope left the relic in the care of the Archbishop of Turin. It was on display in 1978 to mark the fourth centenary of its transfer to Turin, and again in 1998 on the occasions of the 500th anniversary of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin and the centennial of the first photograph of the Shroud taken in 1898 by Secondo Pia, a photograph whose negative revealed the front and dorsal blood-stained images of a crucified man who had been whipped and whose head was covered with a crown of thorns. In recent decades dozens of tests have been done on very small pieces or threads of the linen that the archbishop of Turin allowed to be taken from the Shroud. Carbon dating tests were done in 1988 but have basically proved inconclusive. Most of the evidence, including coins from a Roman era that cover the eyes of the Man of the Shroud, traces of many types of pollens, including one now extinct pollen found only in Palestine two millennia ago, that would bear out the linen’s journey from the Middle East through modern day Turkey and Syria to France and Italy, indicates this piece of linen is 2000 years old. It does not prove the Man was Jesus.

No Pope has ever made a definitive pronouncement about the Shroud. Pope Francis had expressed his desire to venerate the Shroud, and Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin said today in a press conference that the longer time frame was chosen to facilitate a visit by the Holy Father. Francis did say in the early days of his papacy that, “the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. ….(it is an image that) “speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.”

In 2015 the diocese of Turin will also be marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Saint John Bosco, patron of Catholic schools.

Presenters at today’s press conference, according to a VIS report, noted that this will be the third time the Shroud has been displayed to the public during this millennium. The event will focus on two themes: the young, and those who suffer. It is precisely for this reason that the Pope has allowed the solemn exposition, which coincides with the Jubilee for the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco.

As on previous occasions, special attention will be paid to the sick who visit the Holy Shroud. The pastoral ministry for healthcare in Turin will make two reception centers available for pilgrims and carer-givers. In addition, with the collaboration of more than 3500 volunteers, moments of prayer will be held, and a confessional service in different languages will be available in locations in the area near the Cathedral.

The visit will be free of charge but booking is obligatory, to enable the effective management of the flow of pilgrims. Booking is online, at www.sindone.org

I took the following photos on my 2010 visit to Turin:

The church was in almost total darkness and it took me about 10 minutes to acclimate myself. No flashes were allowed inside the church. The side aisles are closed off and people who come in to pray can only go half way up the center aisle – the rest is set off for visitors with reservations. However, no matter were you are in the church, you can see the Shroud – lit from behind, it is this white glowing object above the main altar.

TURIN - Shroud 1 TURIN - Shroud 2 Turin - Shroud 3 TURIN - St. John cathedral

I spent quite some time in prayer, having promised many people I would pray for their special intentions. I spent quite some time in reflection, looking at the Shroud, thinking of what I had studied and learned about this 2000-year old piece of cloth, thinking of the Man whose body it wrapped.

Jesus asked His disciples: “And who do you say I am?”

I believe that linen wrapped Our Lord’s body, Jesus’ body.

NEW NORMS ON RESIGNATIONS OF BISHOPS, CURIAL OFFICIALS

On November 3, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and approved new norms that modify the presentation and acceptance of resignations from pastoral ministry by diocesan bishops and from offices of the Roman Curia by those named by pontifical appointment. The Pope indicated these norms would enter into effect today.

The text is as follows:

Art. 1: The current discipline in the Latin Church and in the “sui iuris” Oriental Churches, by which diocesan and eparchal Bishops, and those held to be of equivalent office in accordance with canons 381 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law and 313 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, as well as coadjutor and auxiliary Bishops, are invited to present the resignation from their pastoral office upon reaching the age of seventy-five years, is confirmed.

Art. 2: Resignation from the aforementioned pastoral offices is effective only from the moment in which it is accepted by the legitimate Authorities.

Art .3: With the acceptance of the resignation from the aforementioned offices, the interested parties cease to hold any other office at national level conferred for a period determined in concomitance with the aforementioned pastoral office.

Art. 4: The gesture of a Bishop who, by motives of love or the wish to offer a better service to the community, considers it necessary to resign from the role of Pastor before reaching the age of seventy-five on account of illness or other serious reasons, is to be deemed worthy of ecclesial appreciation. In such cases, the faithful are requested to demonstrate solidarity and understanding for their former Pastor, providing punctual assistance consistent with the principles of charity and justice, in accordance with canon 402 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

Art. 5: In some particular circumstances, the competent Authorities may deem it necessary to request that a Bishop present his resignation from pastoral office, after informing him of the cause for this request, and listening closely to his reasons, in fraternal dialogue.

Art. 6: Cardinals serving as Heads of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and other Cardinals holding office by pontifical nomination are also required, upon the completion of their seventy-fifth year of life, to present their resignation from office to the Pope, who, after full consideration, will proceed.