Ash Wednesday will be on 14 February this year. We are fortunate this year to have the pilgrim relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux in the parish where we sing for the Traditional Latin Mass from the evening of 13 February until the morning of 14 February.
In some places and congregations, Shrove Tuesday, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, is the feast day of the Image of the Holy Face of our Lord Jesus Christ. (We have to mention the official title of the feast in view of the condemnation meted out by the Sacred Congregation of the Council to the devotion directly to the Holy Face of Jesus, a condemnation reiterated in the acts and decrees of the First Provincial Council of Manila and the First Plenary Council of the Philippines.)
Incidentally, Saint Therese is known in religious life as Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (in French, Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus et de la Sainte-Face; in Spanish, Teresa del Niño Jesús y de la Santa Faz; in Latin, Theresia a Iesu Infante et Sancto Vultu). Below are photos of the second exhumation of the remains of Saint Therese on 26 March 1923. On the crosspiece of the cross that stood over the grave is written in two lines:
SR THERESE de L’ENFANT JESUS
ET DE LA SAINTE FACE
In Italian, the Holy Face is known as Volto Santo or Voldomini (from Vultus Domini). In Spanish, it is called Santa Faz or Santo Rostro, and is usually depicted in three on the veil of Veronica. Veronica itself is understood as the name of the veil with the imprint of the Lord’s face, by way of paraetymology from vera icon. (Veronica comes to us from Βερενίκη (Berenice), Macedonian dialectal form of the Greek Φερενίκη (Pherenice), that is, bearer of victory, victory being the face of the Lord imprinted on the veil). Why there are always three faces on Veronica’s veil amongst Hispanics, read p. 12 here. Quoting:
Accordingly, when Saint Veronica wiped the face of the Lord, only one image was imprinted. The other two prints came into being when the veil was folded three times. We shall call them here tres rostros. The blood and sweat on the original image seeped through the linen in each of the other folds. When she reopened the veil, all three identical imprints [were] displayed. The three imprints are also interpreted as a homage to the three acheiropoieta of the Holy Face of our Holy Lord known to pious Spaniards in a former epoch: the Holy Face of Alicante, the Holy Face of Jaén, and the Holy Face of Rome. All of these images are believed to come from the image left on the veil of Veronica itself. Both these reasons explain why each of the Holy Faces face the same direction, not each other.
The collects from the traditional propers of the Image of the Holy Face of our Lord Jesus Christ are below:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Whose Most Holy Face, hidden in the Passion, shineth forth as the sun in Its own power; propitiously grant that, partaking of Thy sufferings on earth, we may prevail to rejoice in the revelation of Thy glory in heaven: Who livest and reignest.
Behold us, O God, as our protector, and look upon the Face of Thy Christ, Who did offer Himself to Thee as host for our sake: and grant that, offering the selfsame spotless host, we ourselves may likewise become a holocaust acceptable to Thee. Through the same.
Thine Face, we beseech Thee, O Lord, benignantly shine upon us, that, instructed in Thy justifications, we may with these hallowed Mysteries evade the blandishments of the world and conquer its persecutions: Who livest and reignest.
Salve, caput cruentatum !