VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis will spend two days in Turin to venerate the Shroud of Turin; meet young people, workers, juvenile detainees, immigrants and the sick; and visit with his Italian relatives from northern Italy.
The papal visit June 21-22 also will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco, a 19th-century priest from the Turin region who was a pioneer in vocational education, worked with poor and abandoned children and founded the Salesians, a religious order specializing in youth work.
The trip’s main focus will be to venerate the shroud, which will be on public display April 19-June 24, 2015, in Turin’s cathedral. It will be the fourth time since 2000 the shroud goes on public display.
According to tradition, the 14- foot-by-4-foot linen cloth is the burial shroud of Jesus. The shroud has a full-length photonegative image of a man, front and back, bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Gospel accounts of the torture Jesus endured in His passion and death.
The Church has never officially ruled on the shroud’s authenticity, saying the shroud is an important aid for spiritual reflection and that judgments about its age and origin belong to scientific investigation. Scientists have debated its authenticity for decades, and studies have led to conflicting results.
A pilgrimage to Turin is not a journey to discover “apparitions or miracles. It is a journey that’s both communal and interior, ‘a pilgrimage within’” that prompts deeper conversion and faith, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, papal custodian of the Shroud of Turin, told reporters at the Vatican March 25.
The Vatican released the pope’s Turin schedule during the archbishop’s news conference. It said the pope is scheduled to give five speeches over the two days, including a question-and-answer session with young people.