By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published September 17, 2020
CUMMING— A replica and history of the Shroud of Turin are part of a permanent exhibit at St. Brendan the Navigator Church.
The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth with the image of a man, who many believe to be Jesus of Nazareth. It’s believed to have been used when he was buried after being crucified.
The Catholic Church has not officially recognized it as the burial cloth of Christ, but some popes have referred to it as an “icon” in regards to Jesus.
The parish exhibit takes you through the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, said Pat Marcouiller, committee leader for the project. It traces the history of the shroud and presents scientific and historical evidence that matches Scripture, he said.
Called “The Shroud of Turin: A Story of Hope,” the exhibit features storyboards that illustrate how the cloth is connected to Jesus. There is a chronological presentation of the ten appearances of Jesus on earth after the resurrection, 25 appearances from heaven since the Ascension and a replica of the original Divine Mercy painting.
“We basically present it like a detective story,” said Marcouiller. “Here’s the evidence of all these things, you decide, you make your own decisions on what you believe.”
Father Matthew VanSmoorenburg, LC, pastor of the Cumming parish, was convinced that there should be an exhibit of the shroud at his church after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with 47 parishioners in 2019. The parish received the replica in October last year and officially opened the exhibit to the public in late May.
In about six weeks, the exhibit will include replicas of the crown of thorns, nails, Roman whip and the Holy Land. Later plans include an outdoor biblical meditation garden, water feature representative of Moses striking the rock and an outdoor re-creation of the tomb with a bronze statue of Jesus created by Luigi E. Mattei, an artist from Italy.
Fundraising continues for the future plans of the exhibit, said Marcouiller.
“The Shroud of Turin: A Story of Hope” is free and open to the public from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. every day. It is located in the lower level of the main church building. Visitors are highly encouraged to follow COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.
The exhibit is not about the shroud, but about what it tells us, said Marcouiller.
“[Jesus] delivers on his promise of hope, his promise of eternal life,” he said. “You can boil it down to one word–hope.”
For more information on the exhibit, visit stbrendansatl.com. The church is located at 4633 Shiloh Road, Cumming.