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The man of the Holy Shroud: a travelling exhibit.

Entering the large modern church, I stopped and looked up. Hanging high above the altar I saw a full-size reproduction of the Holy Shroud. How wonderful! All around the semi-circular walls of the church, the museum panels of the Exhibition formed an elegant arc. Sweet music enhanced the sacred atmosphere, and I was astonished to see such beauty.

It was early in 2004 and I had received an invitation to give a series of lectures in the Parish Church of the Good Shepherd, in White Rock, British Columbia, just south of Vancouver. I thought back on the rather ordinary exhibitions on the Shroud that I had seen before, but I was delighted to see the professional look of this one. The exhibit was the work of a new Shroud society, made up of priests and laity of the Vancouver area; like many other Shroud groups in North America, the group included Christians from other religious communities as well as Catholics.

The original Holy Shroud, preserved in the Cathedral of St. John in Turin, Italy, is an ancient, delicate piece of cloth that a long tradition recognizes as the burial sheet of Jesus Christ.

Modern research

In the last decades, hundreds of articles presenting new scientific and historical research have been published, all with startling conclusions: human blood is present on the cloth; a Man, killed as described in the Gospels, was wrapped in this sheet; and many microscopic particles inside it, mainly pollen grains, show that this shroud indeed originated in Jerusalem. Part of the history of the Holy Shroud still remains unknown, but plausible explanations for the gaps in its chronology have also been put forward.

In fact, the only recent argument against the authenticity of the Shroud was that deriving: from radio-carbon dating performed in 1988, which put the origin of the Shroud in the Middle Ages. This Issue was resolved in 2005 by the chemist Raymond N. Rogers, very recently deceased, who discovered that in the very area used to provide samples for the radiocarbon test, the Shroud linen had been mended. This new material is what produced the medieval radiocarbon result.

Image of Christ

There is still a final mystery hidden in the Shroud: how was the image of the Man wrapped in the sheet produced? It seems to be the result of some kind of radiation; but how could a corpse have imprinted it? Those who believe in Jesus Christ's resurrection are warranted in thinking that the body of Jesus might have emitted a radiation in the very moment of the resurrection; but for those who do not believe in the resurrection, the source of the image remains a complete mystery.

All of the research performed on the Holy Shroud increases the fascination of this extraordinary relic. Of course, people's curiosity to see the Shroud has increased with the recent arguments for its antiquity, but the original obviously cannot be put on permanent display. In fact, the exhibitions of the original Holy Shroud are very rare; the last one was five years ago and the next will be in 2025!

We are fortunate that today's technology has allowed a Turin photographer, Aldo Guerreschi, to produce a full-size, perfectly coloured, photographic reproduction of the Holy Shroud. This is the centrepiece of the Vancouver Shroud Society's exhibit. Looking at it, people can almost have the sensation of being in front of the original. For people living in Canada, so far from Turin, to have the exhibition of this beautiful copy is really a blessing. But just as impressive are the wonderful panels that describe all the scientific and historic research on the Holy Shroud using text and high-quality pictures.

The text is not too profuse, but is interesting and wisely distributed, so that the marvelous pictures are well matched. The visitor is taken on a cultural journey that follows the route of the Holy Shroud, which becomes a journey of faith.

To enrich the exhibition and to give visitors some idea of the suffering of Jesus Christ, many artifacts, reconstructed according to features found on the Holy Shroud are also on display: the scourge, the crown of thorns, nails, and the lance that pierced His side. Several beautiful icons of the face of Jesus are also aids to meditation and prayer.

Beautiful exhibit

Every day during my stay in White Rock I visited the exhibition, and every day I had difficulty in leaving it to give one of my lectures in a different area. The last day, of course, was the hardest. I asked myself: "Where and when will I see another exhibition again, so beautifully prepared and so well organized?"

The dream became reality! One year later the Good Shepherd Parish mounted a second exhibition, in response to the enthusiasm for the first. I came again to the same place to enjoy the exhibition about the Holy Shroud. Several new Shroud speakers, some internationally known, also participated. Many new people came and the success was double.

Since my interest was first aroused in this relic in 1977, I have participated in hundreds of exhibitions on the Holy Shroud, but I have not seen another that matches this one in White Rock. No other Shroud group has had such success with its first showing that it was able to repeat the exhibition a year later in the same place and also meet with the same success! This is concrete proof of the accuracy and value of this exhibition.

No one can explain the effect of the Holy Shroud on people's hearts. The Holy Shroud is a magnet not only for Catholics, but also for the Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, and even those who have no particular faith. For this reason I don't call it "The Holy Shroud of Turin," as if its importance were limited to one city but simply "The Holy Shroud of Jesus." That means also the Holy Shroud for all Mankind. Let us spread the knowledge of this sacred relic!

The Vancouver Shroud Society welcomes all exhibit travelling and donor support inquiries at 604-531-3739; email: parish@starofthesea.bc.ca or by writing to The Vancouver Shroud Society, c/o 2250-150m St., Surrey, BC V4A 9J3. Web: www.manoftheshroud.org. Contact persons for the exhibit are Dr. Phillip Wiebe: pwiebe@twu.ca, and Mrs. Carolyn Wharton: kwharton@telus.net.

"The great effort and time expended in this most worthy endeavour were obvious. The whole exhibit was most impressive."

Daniel Scavone, Prof. Emeritus of History, University of S. Indiana

"The Man of the Shroud Exhibit is a comprehensive, user-friendly journey deep into one of humanity's greatest mysteries--excellent, enlightening and not to be missed."--Michael McKinley, Co-Producer, CNN

"A professional, thorough and striking exhibit covering every facet of this important relic." Barrie Schwortz, Editor & Publisher of www.shroud.com

Emanuela Marinelli is a Professor of Georgraphical Sciences Professor Marinelli also has received formal training credentialed by the Vicariate of Rome as an expert catechist of the Shroud and the Passion and is very well known internationally. Please visit her web site for more information if needed at www.shroud.it/

For additional information on this exhibit go to www.manoftheshroud.org
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Author:Marinelli, Emanuela
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
Words:1193
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