Shroud of Turin, Visiting Exhibit
This Lent, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is blessed to host a weeklong exhibit of an especially poignant reminder of Christ’s Passion: a life-size replica of the Shroud of Turin, long believed to be the cloth in which Jesus’ Body was wrapped after His death. The replica, constructed from four full-sized photos, will be at the Shrine from Wednesday, March 13 until the following Wednesday, March 20.
If “a picture is worth a thousand words,” the markings on the Shroud tell a compelling story. These markings show “a mysterious image of a man who was crowned with thorns, scourged, beaten and crucified,” says Tony Cherniawski, who conducts the presentations of the replica. “The image is mysterious because science has only been able to say what the image is not made of. Scientists have been unable to find paint, pigment, staining agents or scorches that would explain the image of the Man in the Shroud.”
In addition to baffling science, the image indicates a truly exceptional death, as Cherniawski explains: “The Shroud itself is made of a fine Herringbone weave that has been used only for kings and high priests, yet the victim was treated like a criminal. Forensic analysts claim that the victim did not exhibit ‘fight or flight’ movements while being punished. He took it all calmly, with grace.”
Even apart from this knowledge, the silent eloquence of the Shroud’s outline has moved many hearts. Cherniawski recalls his first encounter with the image in 1993. “I … ended up staying the whole night in front of it,” he muses. “My prayer at that time was, ‘Jesus, if You are real, I want to tell all my friends!’”
Increase in Faith
That encounter has, in turn, borne abundant fruit for others. In his years of presenting the Shroud image, Cherniawski has witnessed dramatic transformations. “I have seen many skeptical people turn around and change their lives,” he recalls. “I have been thanked by wives who have seen their husbands change their lives when confronted with the image of Jesus in the Shroud.”
At times, even more extraordinary favors may be granted. Two Eucharistic miracles have been reported in connection with the Shroud tours. “Whether it was because of the influence of the Shroud, I do not know,” says Cherniawski; but what is certain is that the encounter with the image has greatly strengthened many people’s faith: “I believe that people who have seen the Shroud have had their faith empowered to such an extent that miracles can happen.”
While acknowledging that the original Shroud of Turin remains a subject of debate, Cherniawski emphasizes its demonstrated power as an instrument of grace: “I believe that the Shroud may be one of the very few sources of the TRUTH. It contains everything as told in the Scriptures and a lot more.” Indeed, for those who have been touched by it, the Shroud gives new reality to the Passion narrative described in the Gospels, awakening an understanding of Who our Savior truly is and so drawing their hearts to Him.
For more information on the Shroud of Turin exhibit, or to register for a group presentation at the Shrine during the week of March 13–20, see this page.