VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI will join hundreds of thousands of pilgrims traveling to northern Italy in 2010 to see the Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the burial cloth of Christ.
The Vatican and the Archdiocese of Turin announced Oct. 27 that Pope Benedict will visit the city May 2. “As the first act of his visit, the Holy Father will pause for personal prayer before the holy shroud,” the archdiocese said.
Earlier in the year, the archdiocese had announced the shroud would be on public display April 10-May 23, 2010, offering members of the public their first opportunity to see the shroud since it underwent major cleaning and restoration in 2002.
The work involved removing 30 fabric patches and a fabric backing, known as the Holland Cloth, sewn onto the shroud in 1534 after a fire.
Pope Benedict’s visit to Turin will include the celebration of an outdoor Mass, a visit with a group of sick people and an evening gathering with young people.
The Archdiocese of Turin operates a Web site – www.sindone.org – with information about the shroud, the current state of scientific studies on the cloth and information for tourists, which will include the possibility of making a reservation online to view the shroud during the exposition period.