I came to Italy to attend Caritas' meetings (Caritas Africa & Caritas Internationalis) but the first stop was Turin at the Mother House of the Consolata Missionaries.
This is a special year. The "Shroud" is being exposed for a couple of months. It was granted by the Pope on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco. This 2015 exhibition will be the fourth of the millennium, after those in 2000 and 2010 and the one on March 30,2013 bytelevision.
Lots of information and updates can be found at the new official webpage (click HERE to visit it)
The Shroud is being exposed in Turin in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. There is Mass at 7 am. Priests (and bishops) can go and concelebrate. It is a good opportunity for those who, like me, are just passing for a few days. So I went this morning. There was a very warm welcome from the priests at the Cathedral. I am really grateful to all of them.
As soon as we arrived we were given some personal time in front of the Shroud. It brought me back to the times in the seminary when our rector, Fr Oscar Goapper IMC, told us about it in 1980. So many years' later I was in front of it.
We silently prayed in front of the shroud with the signs of a man who had clearly been crucified.
Being a bishop I was asked to preside the Mass being concelebrated with another 12 priests from Italy but also from Poland and Colombia. Three continents were present and God knows how many more countries among the people present at the celebration.
Today happens to be the day of the Veneration of the Shroud and the readings took us to the passion and death of the Lord.
Just a few days' ago we celebrated the Good Shepherd who not only gives life but gives His life for the sheep.
After Mass, the lights were switched off. Only the ones of the Shroud were on and all of us, priests and people, remained in prayer once again.
As Pope Francis said a couple of years' ago, "the man in the shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. This image talks to our hearts and impels us to climb to Mount Calvary, to look at the wood of the Cross, to immerse ourselves in eloquent silence. Let us, therefore, be reached by this look, which does not seek our eyes but our hearts." (translation, my own)
Above, a BBC documentary on the Shroud