In addition to the many spiritual blessings one receives while on pilgrimage to a holy place, one often also receives the blessing of new friends. Such was my experience on my pilgrimage to the Holy Land just after Christmas and two of these new friends, who presently live in London, came to Rome for a visit this past weekend.
Throughout our time in the Holy Land, and especially around our visit to the Holy Sepulchre, I often spoke of the Veil of Manoppello that was found in the Lord's tomb on Easter morning. These two friends were very intrigued by the image of the Risen Lord so I accompanied them to the Shrine of the Holy Face on Saturday.
It was a busy day at the shrine with buses of pilgrims and Masses celebrate at unusual times for the shrine. While a group of Polish pilgrims celebrated the Holy Mass, the three of us sat on the floor before the Veil of Manoppello to contemplate the beauty of the Holy Face.
Afterwards I was able to take a few photographs as one of the friars explained the history of the veil to the pilgrims and showed them what happens when different light hits the veil:
The visit to Manoppello with these two friends was one of great joy because we had already prayed together in the very tomb in which the Lord Jesus was laid; Saturday we able to pray together before the image of his face that he left behind for us.