(Vatican Radio) “I am pleased to announce that, God willing, next June 21 I will go on pilgrimage to Turin to venerate the Holy Shroud and to honour Saint John Bosco on the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth.”
Greeting Italian-speaking pilgrims following Wednesday’s General Audience, Pope Francis confirmed that he will travel to the northern Italian city of Turin in the summer of 2015.
During his journey the Holy Father will visit the Holy Shroud of Turin, which will be on display for the veneration of pilgrims from April 19 to June 24, 2015. The Shroud, which bears the image of a crucified man, is believed by many Christians to be the burial cloth of Jesus, although the Church has never made a definitive judgement about its authenticity.
Pope Francis had earlier expressed his desire to venerate the Shroud. The Archdiocese of Turin indicated the extended display of the relic – the longest period of time the Shroud has ever been open to public view – was chosen to facilitate a visit by the Pope.
Early in his papacy, Pope Francis spoke about the image on the burial cloth, saying “the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth.” The image, he said, “speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.”
The display of the Holy Shroud and the visit of Pope Francis coincide with events in the Diocese to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Saint John Bosco, the famous 19th century saint who is honoured as patron of Catholic schools.
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