Shroud replica on display in Our Lady of the Rosary Church, St Marys

12/06/2015

Originally published in Catholic Outlook June 2015

By Rev Fr Brendan Murphy SDB

The Shroud of Turin is being exposed for veneration in Turin, Italy, until 24 June 2015 as one of several commemorative events to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the Father and Teacher of Youth, St John Bosco, whose priestly ministry was carried out in Turin.

On 21 June 2015, Pope Francis will visit Turin to venerate the Shroud.

Catholic Outlook June 2015: Shroud of Turin
St John Paul II: “For the believer, what counts above all is that the Shroud is a mirror of the Gospel.”

During the same period, Our Lady of the Rosary Church at St Marys, which is pastorally administered by the Salesians of Don Bosco, is featuring a display of a full-size facsimile of the Shroud. Visitors are welcome to visit the church any day during daylight hours.

The website, www.shroud.com, is a mine of information for anyone seeking an up-to-date source on current scientific and historical research on the Shroud.

The Turin Shroud is believed by many to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ and, as such, is a unique witness to His sufferings.

Controversy has surrounded the issue of the Shroud’s authenticity since the 1988 carbon-dating tests, but scientists continue to be unable to account for the formation of the image.

The 1988 tests have not invalidated, in the estimation of the general scientific community, the shroud’s authenticity.

Grzegorz Gorny and Janusz Rosikon conclude in their recent work (Witness to Mystery, Ignatius, San Francisco 2013): “The most recent results of tests on the Turin Shroud were published by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development (ENEA). After five years of testing, they have concluded that no known method or technique existed before the 21st Century that could have been used to produce the image depicted on the Shroud of Turin. The depth of the image’s colouring is just 200 nanometers – the width of one of the material’s microscopic cell walls.”

Pope John Paul II reminded us that the Shroud is not a matter of faith: “Since it is not a matter of faith, the Church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions. She entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate, so that satisfactory answers may be found to the questions connected with this Sheet which, according to tradition, wrapped the body of our Redeemer after He had been taken down from the Cross.” (24 May 1998)

St John Paul also reminded us: “For the believer, what counts above all is that the Shroud is a mirror of the Gospel. In fact, if we reflect on the sacred Linen, we cannot escape the idea that the image it presents has such a profound relationship with what the Gospels tell of Jesus' passion and death, that every sensitive person feels inwardly touched and moved at beholding it ... For every thoughtful person it is a reason for deep reflection, which can even involve one's life.”

Pope Francis has said of the Shroud: “Let us therefore allow ourselves to be reached by this gaze, which is directed not to our eyes but to our hearts. In silence, let us listen to what He has to say to us from beyond death itself. By means of the Holy Shroud, the unique and supreme Word of God comes to us: Love made man, incarnate in our history; the merciful Love of God who has taken upon himself all the evil of the world in order to free us from its power. This disfigured Face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life that does not respect their dignity; by war and the violence that afflict the weakest... And yet, the Face of the Shroud conveys a great peace. This tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty. It is as if it let a restrained but powerful energy within it shine through, as if to tell us: have faith; do not lose hope; the power of God’s love, the power of the Risen One, conquers all.”

On Monday 22 June 2015, there will be a one-hour PowerPoint presentation on the Shroud in Our Lady of the Rosary Church at 26 Swanston St, St Marys. Commencing at 7.30pm, the presentation is entitled, ‘The Holy Shroud at the intersection of history, science and religion.’

Rev Fr Brendan Murphy SDB is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys.

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