To help keep Christ at the center of their lives, parishioners of St. James in Abbotsford enthroned a replica of the Veil of Manoppello above the tabernacle, a relic described by Saint Padre Pio as the true face of Christ and “the greatest miracle in our possession. »
The induction was led by Ethelyn David, a local member of the Order of Malta who is partly responsible for arranging previous inductions at Immaculate Conception in Delta and St. Patrick’s in Vancouver. Like many people, she found great consolation and faith through her devotion to the Holy Face of Christ.
On August 6, the veil was enthroned at St. James during evening Mass, as well as at St. Francis De Sales Parish in Burnaby earlier that morning. The Mass was celebrated by the pastor of St. James, Father William Ashley and Father Benifacio Sarte Lopez, who traveled from Manoppello in Italy to attend the enthronement.
The image now on display is a Church-approved replica. The real veil resides in Manoppello, in the Santuario del Volto Santo church, run by the Capuchin friars.
The current Veil of Manoppello is one of the “acheiropoieta” – images not made by human hands – recognized by the Church. Others include the Shroud of Turin and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe given to Juan Diego.
Historically, the Veil of Manoppello is difficult to follow. Local legend has it that it was delivered to Manoppello by a mysterious and unnamed pilgrim in 1506. The man gave it to a certain Dr. Giacomo Antonio Leonelli who unpacked it inside the local church . When Leonelli saw the image, he ran outside to find the stranger, but the man had disappeared. Since then, the veil has been in Manoppello.
In the late 1990s, German Jesuit Heinrich Pfeiffer, professor of art history at the Pontifical Gregorian University, proposed that the image was actually Veronique’s veil – a legendary cloth believed to contain the image of Christ’s face before his crucifixion – which he says was then wrapped around Christ’s head in the tomb.
The well-known story, absent from the biblical account itself, tells of a woman – usually named Veronica – wiping the blood and sweat of a weary Christ as he carries the cross to Calvary. She is rewarded for her charity with an image of the face of Christ on the cloth.
The name Veronica does not necessarily belong to a real woman and is made up of two words – the Latin word “vera” (true) and the Greek word “iconica” (image) – and can literally be translated as “the true image”. . ”
Whether the tale is true or not, a number of images appear throughout the story claiming the mantle of Veronica’s veil, and Pfeiffer simply offers the most recent, and perhaps most compelling, contribution to the conversation.
An interesting artistic fact about Manoppello’s veil is that it can be superimposed on early Christian depictions of Christ inspired by the face found on the Shroud of Turin – as well as the face on the shroud itself. That’s not the case with other icons claiming to be Veronica’s Veil, and that lends some credence to Pfeiffer’s proposition.
During Mass at St. James, Fr. Lopez thanked St. James pastor, Fr. William Ashley, for welcoming the Holy Face of Jesus to the parish, telling parishioners that their openness to the face of Jesus will allow God to do great things through them.
“I think God has a plan for you here,” he told the congregation. Fr Lopez thinks many powerful people in the Church would like to ignore the Manoppello veil in an attempt to appeal to modern sensibilities. He said there were also many who would like the Church to stop talking about miracles and sacred mysteries.
Such an attitude was prevalent in 2006, he said, when Pope Benedict XVI courted controversy with his widely publicized visit to the image on the 500th anniversary of his arrival in Manoppello. While Benedict XVI’s speech made no mention of the veil or whether it was the true image of Christ, he thanked the Capuchins for their care of the shrine where so many had sought “the face of Christ.”
After Mass, Fr. Ashley repeated Fr. Lopez’s sentiment that the enthronement will be a blessing to the parish. “Anything that emphasizes Christ helps the parish,” he said. British Columbia Catholic. “We are blessed to have the face here.”
A personal miracle of Manoppello
Father Bonifacio Sartre Lopez dedicated his life to promoting the Holy Face of Jesus and the Veil of Manoppello, but it was not always so.
The first time he saw the veil, he was skeptical and thought it was too ugly to be the true face of Christ.
That was until the former rector of the Sanctuary of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Padre Carmine Cucinelli, asked him to translate for him when the veil was enthroned at St. Patrick’s Church in Vancouver in 2015.
Father Lopez was nervous. He had lived most of his life in Italy and feared that this English was not adequate.
A few weeks before the event, he received a card in the mail with the message “fear not” written inside. He didn’t take the hint.
A few days later, he found himself standing in front of a statue of Saint John Paul II, with his well-known New Testament quote: “Do not be afraid”.
The priest remembers having trouble sleeping until one night he saw Manoppello’s veil and heard a voice say, “Don’t be afraid.” He was unfazed and despite all these messages, he went to the induction with a pit in his stomach.
“Three times I heard ‘don’t be afraid,'” Fr Lopez said. “I was scared because I was arrogant and had come to rely only on myself.”
When Padre Cucinelli began speaking at the event, Fr. Lopez claims he did not translate. Instead, he heard English in his mind which he repeated to the congregation.
After the event, Padre Cucinelli approached him to thank him and asked him if he had been comfortable reading the English translation of the speech he had given before him. No miracle is too small for God, it seems.
Fr Lopez said the experience not only instilled a love for the face of Christ and Manoppello’s veil, but taught him a valuable lesson about prayer and trusting in God for all things.
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