Text and Photos by Antonio Bini
Padre Domenico's fellow Capuchin friars were the ones most amazed by the participation of so many devotees and by the interest which has always been so strongly felt for the Servant of God, on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the death of Padre Domenico, in an event organized just a few days prior to September 17. As decided at the meeting of last January - which was attended by the general postulator, Fr. Carlo Calloni, the vice-postulator Fr. Eugene of Giamberardino, Msgr. Massimo D'Angelo, Episcopal Chancellor of the diocese of Chieti-Vasto, the then Father Provincial of the Capuchins Fr. Carmine Ranieri, the rector of the Shrine Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, Brother Vincenzo d'Elpidio -every year the anniversary of the death of Servant of God will be celebrated in what was "his" Shrine of the Holy Face.
In the pilgrim's hall on the ground floor of the shrine - which was unable to contain all of the people who participated in the commemoration -there was a screening of the documentary of the German section of the television network EWTN titled "Padre Domenico, the long journey from Cese to Turin", introduced by the rector of the Shrine Fr. Carmine Cucinelli.
After the presentation an emotional applause greeted the author of the documentary Paul Badde, present in the room. The documentary, lasting 24 minutes, can be seen on You Tube edition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sslrgj6e7s language.
Fr. Luciano Antonelli, who in 1978 was the superior of the Sanctuary, recalling how Padre Domenico had gone to Turin to learn about the Shroud's relationship with the Holy Face, said that "the presence of so many spiritual children and devotees - so many years after the death of Padre Domenico - is a sign of his holiness. "
The vice-postulator of the cause of beatification, Fr. Eugenio Di Giamberardino, recalling the existence of the association "Friends of Padre Domenico," announced that they are delivering to him testimonies that confirm the episodes of bi-location detailed in the documentary, following the special relationship between Padre Domenico and Padre Pio. He then announced the publication of the most recent edition, in Portuguese, of his book on the life of Padre Domenico, published by the Brazilian company Ecclesiae, with the title "Padre Domenico de Cese. Apóstolo de Sagrada Face de Manoppello"
Invited by p. Carmine Cucinelli to speak, I thanked all those who have collaborated on the documentary providing photos, videos and testimonies. I also confirmed the growing interest abroad for the life of the Marsican Capuchin, for his prophetic vision about the nature of the Holy Face, his life accompanied by extraordinary events and parallel to that of Padre Pio. Recently we have been receiving interesting testimonies of his devotees in Austria and Germany, who came to see Padre Domenico in the nineteen sixties and seventies. Among them was found the presence of Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Holböck (1913-2002), a prominent Austrian theologian who frequented both Padre Pio and Father Dominic, and Ms Ida Loidl, who passed away recently, the author of books on religious themes and editor of the Catholic magazine Grüß Gott (Good morning), who had several meetings with Padre Domenico.
At the end of my speech an elderly lady of Avezzano - Concetta Piccone - approached me to talk to me and give me an old photo of Padre Domenico, telling me that having been stored for years among other things, and that, being a little 'dirty and covered with dust, had proceeded to clean it. On the photo, slightly damaged in the lower left, there seemed evident the wounds on his hands (especially on the back of his right hand) that could indicate the stigmata once described by various people.
Brother Vincenzo d'Elpidio, who was a friend of Padre Domenico, warmly thanked those who came from various parts of Italy and from abroad. Brother Vincenzo is the one who for years has maintained contact with many supporters of the Servant of God. A special thanks was addressed to all who came from Ruvo di Puglia and Andria, for the extraordinary devotion shown over the years to the Holy Face and the memory of Padre Domenico. For many years in the city of Puglia two different associations of the Holy Face have been working , formed according to the desire of Padre Domenico, after a young woman - Amalia Di Rella (1934-1998) - was cured of her illness after going on pilgrimage to Manoppello, and who afterwards decided to become a nun. At the behest of Don Tonino Bello (1935-2003), at the time bishop of Molfetta, whose cause of beatification is underway, was set up the diocesan congregation of the "Disciples of the Holy Face", represented at today's commemoration of Padre Domenico by the presence of Sr. Maria Matera and Sr. Grazia Di Bari.
Finally, there must be pointed out the availability of a new prayer for the beatification of Padre Domenico, published in Italian, German, English and French, by Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner, published with an invitation to submit testimonials, photos and video on the life of the servant of God. Testimonies in Italian may be sent to the vice- postulator at the Shrine of the Holy Face, while those expressed in other languages may be sent directly to the headquarters of the religious community "Communis Vita" - Ossveiler Weg 45, 71334 Waiblingen (Germany) that will subsequently be brought to the attention of the vice- postulator.
See the leaflet at http://holyfaceofmanoppello.blogspot.com/2016/10/prayer-leaflet-for-cause-of.html
To numerous requests for information on the timing of the beatification process Fr. Carmine Cucinelli said that the time is long and unpredictable, and that there is needed the properly documented verification of miracles or extraordinary events attributable to the Marsican Capuchin. Other people have expressed the desire that Padre Domenico be buried in what was his church, closer to his Holy Face that he made known and loved by so many people, so much so that even in life many called him Padre Domenico of the Holy Face.
Quite a number of other people have also traveled to the Basilica for the solemn Mass presided by the Archbishop of the Diocese of Lanciano-Ortona, Emidio Cipollone. Among them was the father provincial of the Capuchins of Abruzzo, Fr. Nicola Galasso, the vice-postulator, Fr. Eugenio Di Gianberardino, Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, Fr. Paolo Palombarini and Capuchins coming from other convents.
At the side of the church a giant poster of Padre Domenico holding an image of the Holy Face, which thrilled those present who were able to see this in his beloved shrine.
The Archbishop, recalling that he was born in the same region as Padre Domenico and that he has the same first name, Emidio, then praised the figure of the Servant of God as a confessor always ready to listen to the suffering of the people and therefore for his love for the Holy Face. And among the many from Cese, the municipality of Avezzano, was also present Mrs. Angelina Cipollone, the mother of the archbishop, also devoted to Padre Domenico. The Mass was animated by the choir of the Sister Servants of the Most Holy Blood from Manoppello.