VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Calling the Shroud of Turin an “icon of the Lord Jesus crucified, died and risen,” Pope Francis thanked the archbishop of Turin for deciding to offer a special online exposition of the shroud Holy Saturday, April 11, to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Jesus gives us the strength to face every trial with faith, hope and love in the certainty that the Father always hears his children who cry out to him and saves them,” the pope said in a message dated April 9 and sent to Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin.
Archbishop Nosiglia was to lead a liturgy of prayer and contemplation before the shroud at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT).
The prayer service was to be livestreamed along with live images of the 14-foot-by-4-foot shroud, which has a full-length photonegative image of a man, front and back, bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Gospel accounts of the torture Jesus endured in his passion and death.
The livestream was to be available on the official website for the shroud — www.sindone.org — as well as on the official Facebook page of the archdiocese (@diocesitorino) and the Facebook page of its youth ministry office (@upgtorino) and the youth ministry office’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/upgtorino).
In his message to the archbishop, Pope Francis said he deeply appreciated the archbishop’s decision to have an extraordinary exposition of the shroud to “meet the requests of the faithful people of God, who are so harshly tried by the coronavirus pandemic.”
“I, too, join in your prayer,” the pope said. “In the face of the Man of the Shroud we also see the faces of many sick brothers and sisters, especially those most alone and least cared for, but also all the victims of wars and violence, slavery and persecution.”
Offering his blessing to all who watch the exposition online or on television, Pope Francis said, “we live these days in intimate union with the passion of Christ so as to experience the grace and joy of the resurrection.”