Feast of the Holy Face at St. Damien’s in Oklahoma City
St. Damien of Molokai, our apostolate in Oklahoma City, recently showed its devotion to Our Lord’s Passion in the Feast of the Holy Face. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered by the newly returned Fr. Christopher Pelster, FSSP, who now administrators St. Damien, along with Fr. Robert Dow, FSSP.
Devotion to the Holy Face of Christ is of ancient origin, reaching back to the fourth century and before. From the 12th century on, the devotion began to revolve around the Veil of Veronica, held to be the cloth Veronica gave to Our Lord to wipe His face during the carrying of the Cross. Popularity of the devotion grew enormously with St. Therese of the Child Jesus making known her devotion to the Holy Face, with an Archconfraternity of the Holy Face formed in Tours, France, in 1884. A pious nun, Sr. Pierina, was deeply devoted to the Holy Face as a way to console Our Lord, to make reparation for the conversion of sinners, and make reparation for the negligence and contempt shown for the Blessed Sacrament. She was miraculously able to obtain permission to cast a medal of the Holy Face, and its use was widespread amongst Italian soldiers in WWII.
Pope Pius XII extended the devotion the universal Church, and placed the Mass on Shrove Tuesday, in 1958. The following is a prayer of St. Therese of Lisieux to the Holy Face of Jesus:
O Jesus, Who in Thy bitter Passion didst become “the most abject of men, a man of sorrows,” I venerate Thy Sacred Face whereon there once did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize Thy infinite Love and I am consumed with with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men. The tears which well abundantly in Thy sacred eyes appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase the souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value. O Jesus, Whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with Thy Love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.
February 17, 2015