“I felt an urgent need to bring Jesus to the public and silently remind everyone he is still here.”
A picture maybe be worth a thousand words, but there is one that is worth far more—the image of the face of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin. If Jesus left his image on a burial cloth that still exists and confounds scientists, then surely there is something supernatural at play. We can let the power of that image cover our own towns and cities through The Holy Face Project.
I was simply going to write about the project but fell in love with the idea of putting the face of Jesus up in my city of Bismarck. It is an image near and dear to my heart. Our family visited it in Turin, Italy, in 2015, the last time it was on public display and the same year Pope Francis visited it. My husband Mark also has written on it and gives a PowerPoint presentation about the shroud.
Many popes have gone to see it. For instance, Saint Pope John Paul II (pope from 1978 to 2005) stated in 1980, “The Holy Shroud, the most splendid relic of the passion and the resurrection ... We become what we contemplate... Why don't we contemplate the Icon of Icons: The Holy Face of Jesus!”
Leo XIII (pope from 1878 to 1903) said that the image was “a means well-adapted in our time to stimulate everywhere a revival of the religious spirit.”
Val Kelly, founder of the Holy Face Project, shares that vision of revival through the face of Jesus. Three years ago, she was nudged during adoration to bring the image of the Holy Face from the Shroud of Turin onto billboards around the United States. She had recently learned of such a campaign in Ireland.
“I felt an urgent need to bring Jesus to the public and silently remind everyone he is still here,” she explained. “More people seem to be moving him out of their lives.”
There is just the face of Our Lord, the website: www.TheHolyFaceProject.com, and the photo’s copyright. Visitors to the website can learn more about the miraculous image by visiting the Shroud.com link. Even if one does nothing more than look upon the face of Jesus, there is surely divine power in that.
Kelly received permission from photographer Barrie Schwortz (part of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project) to use his iconic photo from the shroud’s Holy Face image. Then, she contacted Lamar Advertising Company for the first South Carolina billboard and has worked with them successfully in other states. Kelly partnered with the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation, which enables donations to be tax deductible. Her Rosary prayer group initially funded the first billboard in Pritchardville, South Carolina. A second one in Georgia followed the next year. The original billboard still stands and resulted in approximately 3,088,800 impressions (eyes on) from December 2016 through December 2019.
Anyone wanting to bring this image of Jesus to their community simply needs to contact their local billboard company (Lamar, if it is present there) and determine the desired location and cost. In addition to your own efforts spreading the word and fundraising (social media, church groups, Knights of Columbus, etc.) the Holy Face Project website will list your city for people to click on and make donations. Once the goal is reached, Kelly will handle the contract with the billboard company and arrange for it to go live.
The idea is spreading in the U.S., and groups in Spain, Canada and Switzerland have reached out to Kelly. She has done all the heavy lifting making this a relatively easy project with far reaching spiritual potential. To bring the face of Jesus to your community, email Val Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-785-8893.