TURIN, Italy, OCT. 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will visit Turin next May on the occasion of the exposition of the Holy Shroud, revealed the archbishop of Turin
Cardinal Severino Poletto confirmed the Pope’s May 2 visit in a press statement Tuesday, the day after the Holy Father received him in audience.
“As the first ceremony of the visit, the Holy Father will be recollected in personal prayer before the Holy Shroud,” Cardinal Poletto explained. Then “there will be a solemn Eucharistic concelebration for all pilgrims in St. John’s Square, which will be followed by the recitation of the Angelus prayer.”
“In the afternoon, the Pope will meet with young people in the
Church of the Holy Face (Chiesa del Santo Volto) and, during the trajectory, he will stop briefly in the Cottolengo to meet and bless the residents of the Little House of Divine Providence,” he added.
St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (1786 – 1842) founded the Little House of Divine Providence, a shelter for the poor, and is listed among the saints of charity in Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Deus Caritas Est.”
During his visit to Turin, Cardinal Poletto continued, “the Pope will want above all to express a word of consolation to the many persons who are suffering, in keeping with the theme of the exposition of the shroud, ‘Passio Christi, Passio Hominis’ (Passion of Christ, Passion of Men).”
“Moreover, in the spirit of his latest encyclical, ‘Caritas in Veritate,’ he will encourage and give hope to all those who are worried about a job in this city, always regarded as the ‘city of work and industry,’ but which at present feels more than others the consequences of a vast and prolonged crisis beyond all expectations,” he added.
For the cardinal, “the day the Holy Father will spend in Turin will be for all of us an occasion to meet with him, to pray for him and with him, and to listen to the particular message he will bring to the Church of Turin and to all the civil society of our territory.”
For the city and Diocese of Turin, this visit will be “an extraordinary gift of his fatherly heart,” and “we will receive him with great affection and enthusiasm,” Cardinal Poletto added.
“That will be for him support and encouragement to continue for a long time offering the beautiful testimony of his faith and of the great wisdom with which he is guiding the Church, thus becoming also, for the whole world, a point of reference of primary importance for the defense of the fundamental values of humanity,” the cardinal concluded.
A Pope’s wish
Benedict XVI expressed his desire to go to Turin in 2008 when he received in a special audience at the Vatican 7,000 pilgrims from Turin, and he repeated his wish last July when he had lunch with Cardinal Poletto and others at his summer residence of Les Combes.
“If the Lord gives me life and health, I too hope to come,” the Pope told the Turin pilgrims. The exposition, he continued, “will provide an appropriate moment to contemplate that mysterious face which silently speaks to the hearts of men, inviting them to recognize therein the face of God.”
The last time the shroud was exposed for the public was 10 years ago. The upcoming exposition is scheduled for April 10 to May 23, 2010.
The shroud will be on display for the first time since its 2002 restoration, in which the patches sewn onto the cloth in 1534 by Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage caused by the 1532 fire were removed.
Without the patches, the holes burned into the cloth are visible. The backing cloth, known as the Holland Cloth, was also removed and replaced with a new, lighter-colored cloth.
The 2010 exposition will also include a new tour to inform visitors of the history and significance of the shroud, complemented with unpublished high-resolution photos.
The shroud, measuring 4.39 meters in length and 1.15 meters in width (14.5 feet by 3.5 feet), is kept in a climate-controlled urn in the chapel of the Turin cathedral.