Today the millionth pilgrim visited the Holy Shroud. Annalisa Stefanelli, 44 year old woman came from the diocese of Ravenna (from the parish of San Giovanni Battista) with her 5 children (the firstborn is 15 year old and the youngest is 5 year old) and her mother in law Ornella Asioli. Fiorenzo Alfieri, President of the Holy Shroud Exhibition Organizing Committee, handed to her a backpack with a DVD dedicated to the Holy Shroud and the forthcoming celebration for the 150th anniversary of Italy Unity, the book by mons. Giuseppe Ghiberti, “Before the Shroud”, and some typical Italian food: the ‘agnolotti’.
Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, visited the Cathedral accompanied by ancillary bishops and 2.600 pilgrims of the Meneghina diocese. “We should never forget the infinite suffering nor the endless love of God”, said cardinal Tettamanzi. Before entering the Cathedral, the archbishop of Milan celebrated the Mass at the Basilica di Maria Ausiliatrice along with hundred priests of his diocese.
From Milan over 50.000 pilgrims are expected to visit Turin during the whole Holy Shroud Exhibition. The visit of Milan citizens has a particular meaning, since it recalls the trip of Archbishop Carlo Borromeo; in 1578 Emanuele Filiberto, duke of Savoy, had the Holy Shroud carried to Turin, in order to shorten his way. Since then, the Holy Shroud is kept in Turin.
The emeritus Archbishop of Turin cardinal Giovanni Saldarini stopped before the Holy Shroud accompanied by his successor cardinal Severino Poletto; cardinal Poeltto prayed with him and his relatives, recalling the mystery of suffering that deeply links the Holy Shroud to our lives.
The actor Massimo Lopez visited the Holy Shroud during the day. “This is my second visit to the Holy Shroud”, said Lopez. “I came to Turin for the 1978 Holy Shroud Exhibition, but I had never felt such a strong and deep emotion before today. I am looking at it with different maturity and awareness. I am a true believer, but these feelings go beyond simple faith; this linen is the tangible proof of the human sufferings”.
The group of 17 pilgrims who left Nizza on 27 April is expected to arrive in Turin tomorrow afternoon, after walking for over 250 kilometres. This group is formed by “red penitents” and some “Amici di St. Jacques”; they are retracing the path father Gian Lorenzo Buonafede Vanti walked from Santiago di Compostela to Bologna in 1718.