By Robin Gomes
The announcement of the extraordinary display of the revered cloth was made by Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin at Wroclaw, Poland, where this year’s annual meeting of Europe’s young people, known as the “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth”, is currently taking place.
The Taizé Community has chosen the northern Italian city of Turin as the venue of its next meeting of Europe’s young people, scheduled from December 28, 2020, to January 1, 2021.
There is no official teaching or dogma on the authenticity of the Shroud, which is housed in the Cathedral of Turin. Next year will be the fifth time that the shroud will be on public display since 2000.
The last time it was on display was from April 19 to June 24, 2015, in the cathedral of Turin. Visiting the city, June 21-22, Pope Francis prayed silently for several minutes before the Shroud without any comment. However, at the end of the Mass in the square that followed, he regarded the Shroud as an icon of Christ’s love.
“The Shroud,” he said, “attracts people to the face and tortured body of Jesus and, at the same time, urges us on toward every person who is suffering and unjustly persecuted.” “It urges us on in the same direction as Jesus’ gift of love.”
Previous popes have also visited the northern city during earlier displays of the Shroud. When Pope Saint John Paul II saw the shroud in 1998, he said the mystery surrounding the cloth forces questions about faith and science and whether it really was Jesus' burial linen. He urged continuous study. Pope Benedict XVI described the cloth as an icon “written with the blood” of a crucified man.
Archbishop Nosiglia noted that Turin and the ecumenical Taizé Community have a bond that has lasted for decades. Numerous groups of young people from Italy’s Piedmont region - of which Turin is the capital - travel regularly to participate in Taizé’s annual "Pilgrimage of trust on Earth". Many Taizé prayer meetings are also organized in Turin itself.
Archbishop Nosiglia will hold a press conference on January 3 in Turin to present the initiatives related of next year’s “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth”. The Church of Turin is preparing to welcome thousands of young people in homes and communities. Besides workshops and exchanges, there will also be time for contemplation on the Shroud.
The Taizé Community’s “Pilgrimage of trust on Earth” will be hosted for the first time in Turin. However, the gathering has been hosted six times in Italy – in Rome in 1980, 1982, 1987 and 2012, and in Milan 1998 and 2005.