SCOTTSDALE — Catholics and those coming into the Church at the Easter Vigil know the story of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Thanks to a recurring exhibit at a Valley parish, they can also gain a deeper understanding of a key object involved. This marks the second year that St. Maria Goretti Parish will host its Shroud of Turin exhibit in the final days of Lent.
The exhibit features a high-resolution photo replica of the shroud that has scientifically been proven in recent years to be from the time of Jesus. Other clues point to it being the very burial cloth used for the crucified Savior.
Greg Biltz, a member of the stewardship committee responsible for securing the replica, described the four-foot by 14-foot image as “very clear, very distinct.”
“You could see and count, if you want to, all 135 strokes that hit His body. It’s that detailed,” Biltz said.
He saw people walk away in tears last year after viewing the image and understanding its context. The exhibit, which runs daily March 18-30, also features reference documents on the history of the shroud, an explanation of the burns and watermarks and a telling of the passion and death of Jesus with Jewish and Roman customs.
Biltz said volunteers would be standing by to help Catholics interpret the scientific information. He said there is also a special preview day March 16 open to clergy and other parish leaders who might be interested in bringing a group to the exhibit. A group of young adults came from as far away as Holbrook last year.
“We basically put together the story of what happened based upon the evidence of the shroud,” Biltz said.
That includes an explanation of how the body got out of the shroud, why some blood marks are washed away yet others aren’t and the expensive linen cloth that uses a herringbone weave typical of that used in Nazareth.
“We try to walk people through the Passion in a very scriptural and scientific way,” he said. “You’re going to go away with a new appreciation for what Jesus did.”
Biltz himself first saw an image of the shroud 30 years ago during Lent in New Orleans. Learning about the beating Jesus endured still haunts him. He described the tri-fold blow each whip brought.
“Every time they hit Him, it tore flesh,” Biltz said. “Their objective was to mark every square inch of His body and they succeeded.”
Shroud of Turin exhibit
Where: St. Maria Goretti Parish, 6261 N. Granite Reef Road in Scottsdale
When: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. March 18-March 30 (closes at noon March 30)
Info: (480) 948-8080