Monday, 30 March 2009

Blessing with Veronica's veil

Our man in Rome has sent us these pictures which were taken at the end of Vespers yesterday at St Peter's in the Vatican. The liturgy is now moving clearly towards a focus on the Passion of the Lord; we are preparing to celebrate the great events of His death and resurrection. The crowds here are gathered below one of the giant balconies close to the altar in St Peter's. They await an event which happens only once a year.

On the fifth Sunday of Lent each year a relic of the Passion - the veil used by Veronica to wipe the face of Christ - is brought out and used to bless the congregation. Veronica does not appear in Scripture but is presented to us in the Tradition of the Church as one who comforted the Lord as He made His final journey. The image of Jesus' face was left upon the veil she used. In his Stations of the Cross, St Alphonsus observes the lesson for us all: "whenever we, out of love, minister to the needy, we receive an increase of grace, and the image and likeness of Christ grows in our souls." Relics are important part of the life of the Church: you can find more by visiting the new Blog set up for the visit of St Thérèse; the blog carries a feature on relics today and can be viewed here.