By John Burger
TURIN, ITALY — Responding to thousands of requests, the Archbishop of Turin has decided to allow the Shroud of Turin to be displayed for Easter.
Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia said March 4 he received “thousands and thousands“ of messages from people, “elderly and adults and young people, healthy and sick, who ask me that, in the moment of great difficulty we are living, if they can pray during Holy Week in front of the Shroud, to implore Christ, who died and was risen.”
In response, Nosiglia authorized display of the Shroud through television and social media from April 11, the day before Easter Sunday, until April 17, Friday of Easter Week.
Nosiglia commented that the Shroud, believed to be the burial cloth of Christ, “presents to us in such a true and concrete way, the grace of overcoming evil as He did, trusting in the goodness and mercy of God.”
As Elise Ann Allen noted at Crux, the Shroud has played a role in the Church’s historic response to plagues.
“Tradition holds that when a plague epidemic broke out in Milan in 1576, St. Charles Borromeo, who served as Archbishop of Milan from 1564-1584, pledged to make a pilgrimage the Shroud on foot as a thanksgiving to God for stopping the outbreak,” she wrote. “At the time, the Shroud was in Chambéry, France, but because of Borromeo’s poor health, the Duke of Savoy, Emanuele Filiberto, decided to transfer the Shroud to Turin, where it can still be found to this day.”
Nosiglia expressed his hope that through television and social media, many will be able to contemplate the ”image of the Holy Cloth, which reminds us of the Passion and death of the Lord, but which also opens our hearts to the faith in his Resurrection.”
The image of Jesus’s face in the Shroud, he added, “is stronger than any suffering, any disease, any contagion, any trial and discouragement.”
“Nothing and no one can separate us from this love, because it is faithful forever and unites us to him with an indissoluble bond,” the archbishop said. Christ’s face on the Shroud “speaks to the heart and communicates a great peace to us as if it were telling us: ’Have faith, do not lose hope, the strength of the love of God and the Risen One overcome everything.’”