Pope Francis prayed before the Turin Shroud on Sunday, following in the footsteps of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who have venerated the Shroud over the past two months.
The Pontiff prayed for several minutes before the Shroud, believed to be the burial cloth of Christ.
Later he celebrated Mass in a Turin square and called the Shroud an “icon of love”. He told the crowd: “The Shroud attracts towards the face and the martyred body of Jesus and at the same time pushes us towards the face of those who suffer or are unjustly persecuted.
“It pushes us in the direction of the gift that is Jesus’s love.”
The Pope visited the Shroud at Turin Cathedral during a packed two-day visit to the city.
On his first day he had lunch with prisoners at the Ferrante Aporti jail before meeting sick and disabled people at a church.
He also gave a speech to workers, telling a crowd gathered in a square: “A job isn’t only necessary for economic reasons but for the human being, for his dignity, his citizenship and for social inclusion.”
The Pope criticised the scapegoating of migrants, saying: “Immigration increases competition, but we don’t have to blame the migrants because they are victims of inequality, of this throwaway economy and the wars.”
He added: “It makes one cry to see the spectacle of these days in which human beings are treated as commercial goods.”
The Shroud of Turin is on display until Wednesday. It was last displayed publicly five years ago.
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