MANILA, September 16, 2014—Hundreds, if not thousands, of people poured into the Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Santa Ana, Manila on Monday, September 15, to venerate a framed veil believed to miraculously contain an actual imprint of Jesus’ face, which is in the country for a weeklong tour.
Long queues notwithstanding, each of the faithful patiently waited for his turn to kiss and touch what experts say could likely be, along with the more famous “Shroud of Turin”, the “most sacred object of all”.
“We would love to see it for ourselves. It’s not often that we get an opportunity like this,” shared Denzel Castro who tagged his wife and children along from nearby Santa Mesa.
According to Mylene Nieves of Mandaluyong City, she is blessed to have been able to venerate the veil.
“Few of us can afford a plane ticket to Italy… It is really a blessing to have the image here,” she added.
Dubbed “The Holy Face of Jesus from Manoppello”, it is more accurately termed sudarium, a piece of cloth customarily used by Jews of Christ’s time to cover the face of the dead at burial.
It is also called “The Veil of Manoppello” after a place in Abruzzo, Pescara near Rome where it was was housed for 500 years.
Relatively unknown outside of Italy, the image caught the public eye when then Pope Benedict XVI visited the image in his early years as pontiff, attracting pilgrims and tourists to Manopello who were curious about the Veil’s significance in Christ’s public ministry.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was said to have been drawn to Manoppello after reading the book “Face of God” by author Paul Badde.
Badde’s work spans ten years of in-depth studies on the Veil by professors, scientists, iconographic experts, and authorities of the Catholic Church.
The Manoppello image was featured recently in the August-September 2014 issue of Inside The Vatican magazine.
While the origins of are largely anecdotal, years of scientific study and historical research now report the Veil as having the following attributes:
1. The faces on the better known “Shroud of Turin” and that on the Manoppello Veil coincide perfectly;
2. Both images are “acheiropoietas”, meaning they could not have been made by human hands;
3. The Veil—measuring a mere 7 x 10 inches—is dated between the time of the Lord’s Crucifixion and His Resurrection.
4. The Shroud of Turin shows the image of a man with closed eyes and fresh wounds, while that on the Manoppello Veil features a face with open eyes and closed wounds.
The Manoppello veil has been in the Philippines since September 10.
Its remaining itinerary is as follows:
• September 16, Tuesday – Immaculate Conception Parish Church at Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• September 17, Wednesday – At 6:15 a.m., there will be a farewell mass at Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Makati. (Raymond A. Sebastián)