Ad Liminas & Holy Linen — Day 27

Thursday, Sept. 21, 1978

John Paul I with his great niece

John Paul greets the daughter of his niece (Pia Luciani-Basso in back) at a family gathering in the apostolic palace.

Once, every five years, a bishop must travel “to the thresholds” of the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome to report to the pope on the state of the diocese he leads. This is called the ad limina visit. Today, bishops from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington state came to the Vatican to meet with the pope. John Paul addressed the U.S. bishops about “the domestic Church,” the Christian family:

Let us never grow tired of proclaiming the family as a community of love: conjugal love unites the couple and is procreative of new life; it mirrors the divine love…

Today we want to express our admiration and praise for all the efforts being made to guard and preserve the family as God made it, as God wants it.

This month, the Shroud of Turin (the linen shroud in which some believe Jesus Christ was buried and resurrected) is on public display in Turin, Italy. While he was the archbishop of Venice, Cardinal Luciani had intended to visit the holy shroud today. (Spoiler alertsInstead, he wrote a letter to the archbishop of Turin in which he calls the display “a happy opportunity to strengthen faith.” Rumor has it that the pope intends to privately visit the exposition before its conclusion. Next month, the shroud will undergo extensive scientific testing by members of the newly formed Shroud of Turin Research Project (or STURP.)

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