At Angelus, calls himself a "grandson" of that blessed land
TURIN — Pope Francis on Sunday visited the northern Italian city of Turin, to pray before the Holy Shroud. Hundreds of thousands of people have travelled as pilgrims to the city’s cathedral to venerate what many believe is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
The Shroud of Turin is on display from April 19th – June 24th.
The Pope spent several minutes praying before the Shroud, which is kept in a protective glass case. He then moved toward the Shroud, touched his hand to the case in an act of veneration and love, and quietly moved away.
At noonday, following the celebration of Holy Mass in a packed Turin square, the Pope commented on the Shroud during his Sunday Angelus address.
Extolling the Lord’s sacrificial love, the Pope said: “An icon of this love is the Shroud, which has again drawn so many people to Turin. The Shroud attracts people to the face and broken body of Jesus and, at the same time, urges us on towards every person who is suffering and unjustly persecuted. It urges on in the same direction as Jesus’ gift of love.”
In May, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to Turin’s cathedral to visit the Holy Shroud, and delivered a moving and memorable meditation on the shroud as an icon of Holy Saturday. He said, “This face, these hands and these feet, this side, this whole body speaks. It is itself a word we can hear in the silence. How does the Shroud speak? It speaks with blood, and blood is life!”
Pope Benedict continued: “The Shroud is an icon written in blood, the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced. The image impressed upon the shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Every trace of blood speaks of love and of life. Especially that huge stain near his rib, made by the blood and water that flowed copiously from a great wound inflicted by the tip of a Roman spear. That blood and that water speak of life. It is like a spring that murmurs in the silence.”
Here below we publish an English translation of the Pope Francis’ Angelus address.
“At the end of this celebration, our thoughts go to the Virgin Mary, a loving a caring mother towards all her children, whom Jesus entrusted to us on the Cross as he offered Himself in the greatest act of love. An icon of this love is the Shroud [of Turin], which has again drawn so many people to Turin. The Shroud attracts people to the face and tortured body of Jesus and, at the same time, urges us on toward ever person who is suffering and unjustly persecuted. It urges us on in the same direction as Jesus’ gift of love. “The love us Christ urges us on”: these words of St. Paul were the motto of Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo.
Recalling the apostolic fervor of so many holy priests of this region, beginning with Don Bosco, whose bicentennial of birth we remember, with gratitude I greet you, priests and religious. You dedicate yourselves with commitment to pastoral work, and you are close to the people and their problems. I encourage you to carry forward your ministry with joy, always focusing on what is essential to the proclamation of the Gospel. And as I thank you, brother bishops of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, for your presence, I urge you to stay close to your priests with paternal affection and warm closeness.
To the Holy Virgin, I entrust this city and the surrounding area and those who live therein, that they may be enabled to live in justice, peace and fraternity. In particular, I entrust to her the families, young people, elderly, prisoners and all those who suffer, with a special thought for leukemia patients on today’s National Day against Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma. May Mary the Consolatrix, Queen of Turin and Piedmont, make firm your faith, make sure your hope, and make fruitful your charity, that you may be the “salt and light” of this blessed land, of which I am grandson.”
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Alteteia’s English edition.