Turin Readies for 1M Shroud Viewers


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TURIN, Italy, FEB. 24, 2010 ( More than a million pilgrims have made reservations to view the Shroud of Turin when it is displayed this April in the city's cathedral.

The shroud -- believed to be the cloth Christ was buried in -- will be on display April 10-23 at the Turin Cathedral. The last time it was displayed was 10 years ago.

Nearly a million reservations have been made by Italians alone. Other reservations have come from Argentina, Burkina Faso, Japan and Russia.

Some 4,500 volunteers are currently training to help with the logistics. "Those who collaborate in this event do so for free," said Maurizio Bardello, director of the Committee for the Exposition of the Holy Shroud. The organization "has been guided by criteria of sobriety and expected costs. A wide use of recyclable material is planned."

The director added that some permanent renovations are under way, such as a remodeling of the Chiablese Palace, where pilgrims will be able to attend Eucharistic Adoration and receive the sacrament of confession.

Planning green

In addition to the use of recyclables, other environmentally friendly plans are being made.

"To reduce the effect on the city of the arrival of close to 20,000 expected buses, each one will be asked for a contribution of €30 destined exclusively to plant new trees," said Bardello.

Fiorenzo Alfieri, president of the Committee for the 2010 Exposition and cultural adviser of the city of Turin, explained the tourists' itinerary.

There will be a "pre lecture," that is, "a review with images and explanations that prepare for the viewing of the Holy Shroud; at the end, one will enter the cathedral," he said.

On announcing the Exposition of the Holy Shroud on June 2, 2008, Benedict XVI suggested that "it will be an extremely propitious occasion to contemplate that mysterious face, which speaks silently to men's heart, inviting them to recognize in it the face of God."