The Holy Shroud of Turin: Icon of Christ

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for April 26, 2015)

On my 16th birthday (April 13th, 1977) my parents gave me a “Lifting the Veil” Face of Christ, a picture of the Holy Face from the image on the Shroud of Turin which, when you lifted a thin piece of cardboard from inside the plastic, revealed a second image of Christ as He would have appeared in His living likeness. It was from the Confraternity of the Precious Blood.

Icon of Christ

The instructions on the back were to use this as a home shrine to unite with daily Mass.  As I read it today, I quote: “The Mass is two things: a meeting and a memory, points out Orate Fratres [a liturgical magazine], 1: it commemorates the Death of Christ…2.: we meet Christ in person. It is necessary to keep the two well distinct, if the essence of the Mass is to be seen clearly. Your ‘Lifting the Veil’ Face of Christ enables you to see these two things clearly as you unite with Mass daily (1) by contemplating the True Face of the Dead Christ… and (2) meeting with Christ in Person, as His Living Likeness appears through the ‘Veil’.

I found this image very compelling as a youth, and it has indeed been a stimulus to prayer and thoughts of the encounter with Christ in person.  (I have kept this “Lifting the Veil” image with me all these years, and it has added poignancy now as a memento of my deceased parents.)

The image of the Holy Shroud as the True Face of Christ is a great gift of God to His Church: to affirm our faith, without taking away either the necessity for it or the merit of it.  For nearly 20 centuries the real facts about this Shroud-relic were unknown, because the scientific means to discover and measure them were unknown.  It is very good for us to inform ourselves about some of the scientific discoveries surrounding the Shroud in recent times.  Do not be deterred by dismissive and irreverent coverage in the media.

At present, the Holy Shroud is being shown to the public in the city of Turin, Italy, through June.  The occasion is the bicentennial of the birth of St. John Bosco, “Don Bosco”, in 1815, who was from that region of Italy, the Piedmont. Pope Francis—whose grandparents emigrated from Piedmont to Argentina—is scheduled to make pilgrimage to the Shroud exhibition on June 21st.

In 2010, during the last public exhibition of the Shroud, Pope Benedict XVI made pilgrimage.  It was the Fourth Sunday after Easter, May 2nd. In his remarks there, describing himself as a pilgrim, he said:

How does the Shroud speak? It speaks with blood, and blood is life! 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, and we can hear it, we can listen to it in the silence of Holy Saturday. Dear friends, let us always praise the Lord for his faithful and merciful love. When we leave this holy place, may we carry in our eyes the image of the Shroud, may we carry in our hearts this word of love and praise God with a life full of faith, hope and charity.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for April 25, 2015

Third Sunday after Easter – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of April 25, 2015
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of April 25, 2015

MaryImmaculate-2015-04-25
(download full-size cover)

Front Cover:  The Face of the Man on the Shroud of Turin “unveiled,” and touched up to reveal what that “Man” would have looked like in life without the disfiguring wounds of the torture and crucifixion which killed him.  It was discovered accidentally when the relic of the Holy Shroud was first photographed in 1898 that the image of the crucified man is an exact negative image.  The photographer Secondo Pia was astonished to find the negatives in his darkroom were the face and body of the Man.  The pious belief of Christians over the centuries that this relic is the actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ, retrieved by His disciples from the empty tomb on Easter Sunday, has been corroborated by the evidence of scientific investigations done on the Shroud since the 1898 discovery.  The Shroud is being publicly exhibited this year in Turin, Italy, between April 19th-24th.

Pastor’s Note:  THE HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN: ICON OF CHRIST

Padre Pio Prayer Group;  Weekly Scripture Study on St. Luke 18:31-34;  Parish Announcements; Parish Fellowship;  Weekly Bible Study: The Book of Exodus;  Requiescant in Pace; Military Service Prayer List; Health of the sick; Music Program; Mass Propers; Calendar of Masses.

Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes website and
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Mary Immaculate bulletins.

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for April 19, 2015

Second Sunday after Easter (Sunday of the Good Shepherd) – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of April 19, 2015
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of April 19, 2015

MaryImmaculate-2015-04-19

Front cover: Easter Eve, the Proclamation of the Easter Message, the Easter Praeconium or “Exultet”, before the Paschal Candle.  Pastor’s Note on Connecting to the Christ-Life;  Weekly Scripture Column on St. Luke 18:18-30 (Part Two);  Weekly Bible study: The Book of Exodus;  Our Lady of Mesopotamia Mission: Iraqi Catholics;  St. Benedict Elementary School Admissions Open House;  Military Service Prayer List; Health of the Sick; Requiescant in Pace; Parish Fellowship; Religious Education; Music Program; Mass Propers; Calendar of Masses; and more.

Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes website and
facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla and the Provencher Family

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for April 12, 2015)

Provencher Family Article

Elizabeth ProvencherOn Holy Saturday after our Easter Vigil, one of our parishioners Bill Provencher put into my hand a copy of a Polish Catholic magazine in which his family was featured about a great favor they had received through the intercession of (then-Blessed) Gianna Beretta Molla, the “martyr-mother”: the safe-andhealthy birth of their youngest child Elizabeth “Biz” Gianna. I knew their story since I had been part of the prayer-chain at the time it had happened, and I was most moved to see the story reported on and publicized in another country no less.

Gianna Beretta Molla died on Easter Saturday, April 28th, 1962, in the town of Magenta, near Milan, Italy. She was 38 years old. A week before, on Holy Saturday, she had given birth to a healthy baby girl, her fourth child, whom she named Emanuela. But the mother, who was also a practicing physician, knew she was dying. Months before she had foregone a cancer treatment which would have destroyed the life of her unborn child.

In 2000 Karen Provencher fell ill with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The family and their friends prayed to Bl. Gianna Molla, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1994, for a healing. The treatment was successful, but the doctors warned that Karen should not become pregnant for at last two years following this treatment. Two months after the treatment, however, Karen did become pregnant. In the article, Bill Provencher gives his testimony:

We asked blessed Gianna Beretta Molla to intercede before God and to watch over my wife’s life, and now also our child’s. We chose blessed Gianna because she was also a mother, and she also suffered from cancer as my wife did, and so she would understand the problem, comfort us and protect our child. The first moments of this unexpected situation were full of surprise and anxiety, but our faith in God let us consider the child to have a very special reason for coming into this world. The doctors were painting horrible scenarios for us…Elisabeth Gianna was born healthy on August 1st, 2001, despite all opposite expectations. The doctors were stunned. It was impossible, or at least it was a one-in-a-million chance. Today our youngest daughter is twelve, she is happy and cheerful. We consider her a special gift from God. The memories of those days have become distant and hazy, but we are constantly aware the God in His goodness unceasingly leads us through hard times. We thank God every day for Elizabeth and our whole family.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for April 12, 2015

Divine Mercy Sunday – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of April 12, 2015

MaryImmaculate-2015-04-12

Front cover photo of the Easter fire and the blessing of the Paschal Candle on Easter Eve, April 4th, 2015, on the front porch of the church.  Pastor’s Note on St. Gianna Beretta Molla and the Provencher Family;  Weekly Scripture Column on St. Luke 18:18-30 (Part One);  Weekly Bible study: The Book of Exodus;  Parish Fellowship; Religious Education; Music Program; Mass Propers; Calendar of Masses; and more.

Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes website and
facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com.

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of April 5, 2015

MaryImmaculate-2015-04-05

Front cover shows Giotto’s (1267-1337), “The Resurrection of Christ from the Tomb”.  Pastor’s Note: Pilgrims to Jerusalem – The New and Heavenly Jerusalem (taken from Father’s series of Lenten Lectures);  Easter Greetings;  Weekly Scripture Column on the Easter Readings;  Weekly Bible study: The Book of Exodus;  Parish Fellowship; Music Program; Mass Propers; Calendar of Masses.

Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes website and
facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com.