The Shroud Room Story
By Fr. John Rocus
Located in our Shroud of Turin Room, you will find a life size photographic negative of the actual Shroud of Turin. This photographic replica stands encased within a frame, and will clearly show the viewer the many details that have caused wonderment to so many for so many hundreds of years. Crowds gather when a replica of the Shroud is on display in the area, and we’d like to invite everyone to that which we have quietly here.
In our Shroud of Turin Room you will find sufficient materials to allow any interested person to be able to sit, and study, and meditate on this most mysterious and important religious artifact. We are pleased to offer a lecture/demonstration to any interested parties, preferably larger groups (15). This could be an RCIA class, or school group, or a bible study. Just call our office to obtain details to arrange for a date.
There have been three Shroud documentaries shown on TV. One tells the story of how a member of the STURP Team, and a skeptic, was moved to change his perspective based on the research done by a husband and wife from Ohio, amateur “Shroudies”, who using the currently available data, challenged the conclusions of those who believed in the accuracy of the Carbon dating that said the Shroud was medieval.
The other two shows describe the work of a computer artist who put digital “skin” on the image extracted from the Shroud. It gives what he believes to be an accurate representation of what Jesus may have actually looked like. As always, the best source of information on the latest on the Shroud of Turin is http://www.shroud.com/
Our Shroud Event
We had had, in the past, the pleasure of hosting, along with Ave Maria Radio, “The Shroud Encounter”, which is a presentation by renowned Shroud expert, Russ Breault. This event was held at the Jane Tasch Theater in Pinckney and was very well received. We trust that many people took away some new food for thought about this incredible artifact of the Church.
The actual Shroud of Turin was last on display in Turin Italy in the spring of 2010. Millions of people traveled from all around the world to view this relic of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Our Yearly Good Friday Exhibit of the Shroud
Each year we solemnly present our Shroud of Turin Exhibit to the faithful. This enlarged, yearly display, includes a number of text and pictorial panels, detailing the sufferings of the man buried within this cloth. As you travel along the panels, whose text is shown below, you are given pause for meditation on such suffering of the One whom we believe to be The Christ.
Our display ends with a few moments of reflection in the church while viewing a snippet from “The Passion of the Christ” movie.
This is a very powerful and holy way to spend your Good Friday, reflecting on the sufferings of Christ on the cross.
Who is this man? Is this image from the Shroud of Turin a miraculous imprint of the face of Jesus of Nazareth?
For many years the Catholic Church has venerated the Shroud of Turin as the actual burial shroud of Jesus. But is this possible? The Shroud has been studied and examined by some to the world’s leading scientists to try to determine the truth.
“The Stations”, a traditional feature of most Catholic Churches, mark the final steps of Jesus on his journey to Calvary.
Pope John Paul II had many thoughts regarding the Shroud of Turin. His words are found throughout the exhibit.
In this first station, Jesus has already been scourged by the Roman soldiers at the command of Pontius Pilate. The Shroud shows indications of a man who has been severely flogged. There are over 100 wounds apparently inflicted by two men using flag rum, the favored instrument for scourging.
It is believed that Jesus did not carry the full crucifix but only the crossbeam which probably weighed at about 60 pounds. The image on the back of the Shroud show wounds across the shoulders which might indicate carrying a heavy beam.
The tradition is that Jesus fell three times on his journey to Calvary. Investigators who have scientifically examined the Shroud have detected soil in the weave at the knees of the man whose image is on the burial cloth.
A bystander, Simon of Cyrene, is called upon to help Jesus. It is believed that Jesus would not have survived the walk to Calvary if he had not been helped.
There is a tradition that Jesus met a woman named Veronica who, out of compassion, wiped his face. An image of the face of Jesus remained on the towel. It is called the Sudarium and is said to be kept in a church in Italy, seldom on display. The name Veronica stems from the Latin “Vera” meaning truth.
Italian photographer Pia Secundo photographed the Shroud for the first time. Upon examining the negative of the image, the details of the cloth became apparent in a way they had never been seen before and the shroud suddenly became more famous than ever before.
In pre-World War II Europe, Jesus appeared to a Polish nun, Sister Faustina Kowalska as he appears in this commissioned painting. It has come to be known as the Divine Mercy Image. In the image Jesus is pointing to his heart as the source of all grace. The red and white rays represent the blood and water that flowed from the side of Jesus when his side was pierced by the Roman centurion. The image on the Shroud shows a blood stain on the right side of the man.
The image shows nail wounds on the wrists. It is believed that if the nails were inserted in the palms, the weight of the body would have torn the flesh.
This heel bone with nail intact was an archaeological find. The curve on the nail was probably caused by hitting a knot in the wood. It would have prevented the nail from being extracted and would have necessitated cutting off the leg of the condemned.
Jesus is taken from the cross and laid in the tomb. Because the Jewish Sabbath was about to begin, the customary ritual of washing the body would have been omitted and the blood stains would have remained on the body.
This image shows how the Jewish ritual burial shroud would have been wrapped around the body of the deceased.
The Shroud shows evidence of microscopic pollen from the flowers and herbs that would have been placed on the body in the tomb. It has been determined that some of these pollen are found only in the Holy Land.
So whose image is on the shroud? We may never know for sure if it is Jesus of Nazareth, but neither art nor science can explain how the image got there. It may in the end be simply a matter of faith.
A new video is out which at least one critic considers one of the best. He likes it because of the personal stories associated with the topic. It’s called “Unwrapping the Shroud” and it was first shown on The Discovery Channel in 2009. You can find this in our Holy Spirit Gift & Bookstore, and it is part of our annual Shroud Exhibition on Good Friday and Holy Saturday of 2010.
“Unwrapping the Shroud” is the story of a couple from Ohio who found out about the shroud through a television documentary, became intrigued, and began to study it. They heard about the carbon 14 dating which determined that it was no older than the middle ages. The couple, without any scientific training, were able to confront conventional scientific wisdom and get at least one prominent scientist to change his mind. This scientist, Ray Rogers, was a member of the STURP Team which studied the shroud back in the 1970’s. He was quite perturbed that the couple questioned his science but in the end had to concede that their findings call into question the validity of the carbon 14 readings.
Yet another video came out and is now available from The History Channel. It documented how artists/technicians took digital information from the Shroud to animate the image, making it 3-dimensional and moving. The purpose was to give a forensic approximation of how Jesus looked in real life. The climax of the video was when the image of the face of Jesus opened its eyes and looked at the viewer. A little unnerving.
Books and images of the Shroud are available in our bookstore. A documentary DVD on the history and research on the Shroud is also available.
The Image on the Shroud
What you see below is a horizontal portrayal of the front view of the body of the shroud. It is a photographic negative. It was first photographed by an Italian photographer, Secundo Pia, in the late 19th century. When he developed the negative of the face, it appeared as a photographic positive, indicating that the original image on the shroud was actually a negative image, waiting, if you will, for the invention of photography to reveal for the first time the incredible image we see here.
On the image we see several features. First is the body of a man who appears to have been tortured in ways reminiscent of the ways Jesus was tortured. There are wounds on the hands and feet, the side, and about the head. There are marks indicative of the scourging. There are blood stains in these locations and nail marks are in the wrists, not the hands.
The Shroud was damaged in a fire and there are symmetrical scorch marks, burn holes, and their repair patches.
There are symmetrical water stains from attempts to put out the fire or from the shroud being stored in a jar where water at the bottom seeped into the folded shroud. The symmetry of the burn marks and the water stains reflect a particular folding of the shroud while it was stored and damaged.
Carbon dating tests done in the 1980’s dated the cloth to the middle ages. Nevertheless, big questions remain, research has continued, and new evidence seems to promote the cause for authenticity. If that is the case, then the shroud of Turin may be in fact, the linen that wrapped the body of Jesus at his death and the image is that of his body imprinted miraculously, perhaps at the moment of his resurrection. For more on the Shroud of Turin, please visit the shroud link listed on the home page at the left.
Miscellaneous Quotes from Pope John Paul II:
In a homily given in Turin, John-Paul II said: “In line with the findings of numerous scientists, we may consider the Holy Shroud of Turin to be an exceptional witness of the Paschal Event: the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a silent yet telling witness.”
The Shroud is truly an extraordinary sign, referring us back to Jesus, the true Word of the Father, and calling upon us to follow the example of Him, Who gave Himself up entirely for us all’”
“This precious burial cloth of Jesus – observes His Holiness Pope John Paul II – can help us better understand the mystery of the Son’s love for us. Standing before this eloquent and shocking image of indescribable suffering, I wish to thank God for His special gift, a gift that no Christian eager to follow Christ should overlook…
The Shroud enables us to discover the mystery of suffering sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a suffering that has become the source of salvation of all mankind” (Turin, May 24th, 1998).
To the believer, the importance of the Shroud lies in the fact that it provides a mirror to the Gospels…. By contemplating it, the person of compassion experiences an inner movement of the heart and a profound shock.
The Shroud calls us to discover the deepest reason for Jesus’ redemptive death. It invites all of us to stamp the image of God’s love into our hearts and root out the terrible reality of sin.
In the silent message of the Shroud, we hear the echo of God’s words and the centuries-old experience of Christianity: Believe in God’s love, the most precious gift offered to humanity, and beware of sin, the greatest misfortune to have befallen humankind” May 24th
The Shroud — states Pope John Paul II — enables us to discover the mystery of suffering sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a suffering from which the salvation of all mankind springs. [It] is also an image of God’s love and man’s sin. [It] calls on us to discover the deepest reasons for Jesus’ redemptive death….Faced with such suffering, the believer cannot but cry out with deep conviction: “Lord, you could not have loved me more!” and also realize that sin — the sin of every one of us — is the reason for this suffering. The Shroud invites all of us to stamp the image of God’s love onto our hearts and root out the terrible reality of sin….In the silent message of the Shroud, we hear an echo of God’s words and the centuries-old experience of Christianity: believe in God’s love, the most precious gift offered to humanity; beware of sin, the greatest misfortune to have befallen humankind (Turin, May 24, 1998).
What Jesus accomplished for us is a mystery that surpasses all human understanding. Nevertheless, since faith always seeks to deepen our understanding, let us try, in the light of God’s revelation, to answer the following basic question: Why did Christ have to suffer, die and rise from the dead?
God created man in His own image and likeness — a thinking being endowed with a free will and an aptitude for love. He called man to a life of communion with Himself. Man can only become what the Creator intended him to be and, thus, achieve perfect happiness when he becomes a partaker in the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4), that is, when he unites himself in love with God. Only when man gives his full consent in total freedom can God bestow on him the fullness of His love and unite Himself with him and, thus, restore the works of creation.
When man yielded to temptation, he stopped believing that his happiness depended on God alone. Instead, he believed Satan’s lie that the path to happiness lay in rejecting God. This was the essence of original sin. The natural consequence of man’s rejection of God was death (Rom 5:12) and enslavement to sin (Jn 8:34) and the spiritual forces of evil (1 Jn 5:19; Ga 4:3; 5:1; Col 2:15). Original sin deformed what was essential in human nature, namely, “the image and likeness of God.” Man now carried a false image of God, of himself, and of sin. Left to his own devices, he was unable to know the Truth, confess his fault, and entrust himself to the mercy of God.
Quotes by others:
“If we consider – observes L. Coppini, Director of the Institute of Anatomy at the University of Bologna – that there are over 140 pain-sensitive areas per one square centimeter of scalp tissue, we can imagine how unbearable must have been His pain”.
Science is incapable of explaining just how the whole figure of the body was stamped onto the cloth. For this reason, J. Jackson observes: “Given the modern physical and chemical processes known to us, there is every good reason to claim that the image should never have happened, and yet it is real, even though we are unable to explain how it happened.”
Bible quotes related to the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus:
“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.” (Jn. 19:41-42)
Early in the morning of the first day after the Sabbath, the apostles Peter and John learned from Mary Magdalene that Jesus’ body was no longer in the grave. They ran to the tomb, but John reached it first. On bending down, he saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but he did not go inside. Then Simon approached the tomb. He entered and saw the cloths and the napkin which had wrapped His head. It was not lying with the linen cloths but “rolled up in a place by itself”. Then the disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also entered the tomb. “He saw and he believed.” (Jn. 20: 3-8)
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed (Is 53:5).
This is my body which is given for you … this is my blood which is poured out for you (Lk 22: 19-20; Mt 26:26).
The following is the story of how this particular Shroud Exhibit came to be.
I think I had finished preparing my homily on vocations when Darrell called me. We hadn’t talked for almost a year, if not longer. He had first dropped in on me when I became the pastor of St Agnes Church in Flint. Let me say that the most memorable thing I could recall about Darrell Jeffreys was that he liked to talk. And so in that first encounter I was treated to his life story. In great detail. But the essence of his visit was to make a proposal. He told me that he was quite intrigued with the Shroud of Turin and that he was interested in helping the parish put together an exhibition. Some years earlier I had seen a very professionally done Shroud exhibit at St. Francis Church in Ann Arbor and so I actually thought it was a great idea and could be a worthy effort at evangelization. But I was new and already in over my head as a new pastor so let’s just say that the idea never got off the ground.
But then, just a short time later, after a long absence, Darrell re-appeared. This time he told me he had gone ahead and purchased the two full size negative images of the Shroud from a man in California who was actually the official photographer for the STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) Team which scientifically examined the purported burial cloth of Jesus back in 1973. That caught my attention. This was very significant expenditure for a man who has been unemployed and on disability for the last few years and so I guess I was a bit more inclined to hear him out. And when I gave that homily on vocations that Sunday I had included the fact that while the emphasis was on the ministerial priesthood, there are other ways God calls people, including calling them to take on a special missions. And I was beginning to think Darrell had been given a mission.
As I mentioned, Darrell liked to talk and so in re-telling me his life story, with even more detail this time, I was paying closer attention, and when he began to choke up as he recalled painful memories from his past, I sensed even more that perhaps God had been preparing him for something special.
Darrell Jeffreys is a 50 year old Catholic man who grew up in Harlem in New York City. He went to Catholic Schools from day one and proved himself to be a very good student in challenging times in a neighborhood and environment which could be very hard on anyone who aspired to higher goals. But he persevered where many of his friends fell by the wayside. He was the youngest of three brothers who were raised by their mother. His father had died when Darrell was three, but his mom carried on with the dream that both of his parents had set for their sons. And so, Mrs. Jeffreys, depending on her husband’s veteran’s pension checks and her meager income as a beautician, insured that Darrell and his brothers got the best of Catholic education that New York City had to offer. The studious young man would ride the bus across the neighborhoods of the big city to attend Cardinal Hayes High School and would graduate at ceremonies held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Mom died of cancer when Darrell was a teen but as he recounted, she gave a deathbed speech which served as his encouragement to carry on the torch and to make her a proud mom who sacrificed so much to make sure that her sons would do well in life.
Darrell had been accepted at New York’s Columbia University but a twist of fate brought him to Flint where he attended GMI, now Kettering, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering. This brought him to AC Delco where he worked for many years. He was married, had two children, was divorced, separated from GM and then went for another degree in business management. He became a teacher in Flint and then in 2003, fate would intervene again. Then, on one fateful day, Darrell was in an automobile accident. He felt lucky at first, the car was totaled but he walked away. Before too long, however, it became apparent that some serious damage had been done and that he would no longer be able to work and would have to go on disability.
His days would be racked with pain and his nights as well. Sleep became a luxury. But during those long nights, Darrell found his time occupied with two major pastimes. First, his interest in his faith began to grow as he watched EWTN (Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network) into the late hours. Secondly, his interest in the Shroud of Turin began to grow as well. He found a website hosted by Barry Schwartz, the Shroud photographer, and the two began an association over the internet which ultimately led to the purchase of the two images of a man who appears to have been put to death by a scourging and crucifixion. This image has been venerated over the centuries and many have come to believe the image to be that of Jesus Christ, miraculously imprinted at the moment of his resurrection.
The original exhibit was shown for the first time on Good Friday and Holy Saturday of 2007 at St. Agnes Church in Flint. The many panels which contain images and text followed the Stations of the Cross throughout the church, drawing parallels between what happened to Jesus on the first Good Friday and the wounds that are visible on what we believe to be the burial cloth that he was wrapped in when they laid him in the tomb that evening. The 20 panels of the exhibit document the history of the Shroud as well as the scientific studies that have been performed in modern times. A 20 minute video presentation based on the movie, The Passion of the Christ, served as a background to the exhibit, using both still and moving images as well as the haunting musical sound track.
Recently Holy Spirit Church collaborated with Ave Maria Radio of Ann Arbor in bringing a special shroud event to the area. The Shroud Encounter is a multi-media presentation hosted by nationally recognized expert, Russ Breault. This event took place at the Jane Tasch Theater in Pinckney and was well received. His website is www.shroudencounter.com
The website of Barry Schwartz, the Shroud photographer with the STURP Team is www.Shroud.com
The exhibit was purchased by Holy Spirit Church in Brighton and was shown during Holy Week of 2008 and 2009. It is now on permanent exhibit in the former Cry Room. The Shroud Images may be viewed 9-4 pm, Monday through Saturday. Books, DVD’s and images are available in the Holy Spirit Book and Gift Store.