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“Felicem Natalen Christi!” “Christus Rex”

Being there in spirit on Christmas Eve

Judi McLeod image

By —— Bio and Archives December 25, 2017

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José Lull -- Bell ringers
My friend Kathie in Indialantic, Florida,  who wrote me that she would be at Midnight Christmas Mass tonight and as usual would be in tears when the priest carries the figure of the Christ Child up the church aisle to place in the Nativity Scene manger,  can expect to find me standing there with her, if only in spirit.

This Christmas is a special one for Kathie as only weeks ago, she was taken seriously ill from toxins left by kidney stones.

Kathie and I have been steadfast friends ever since she and her husband Joe travelled all the way from Panama to attend the 9/12 protest in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 12, 2009 and to meet Canada Free Press.

Along with so many others, my spirits will be soaring over the miles on this Holy Night to join friends celebrating the Birthday of Christ in many faraway places.

I’ll also be there in spirit, in the candlelight of the tapers set alight for Christmas dinner in too many places to mention.

Ghosts of Christmases past will be revoked in the crackling flames of my fireplace.  Among them will be the Christmas Eve morning at the gravesite of Rosary Priest Fr. Patrick Peyton where I found rosaries left in the snow.

This was Christmas 2008 after the election of Barack Obama as president drove me to North Easton, Mass. to pray at Fr. Peyton’s gravesite that America would (“Please God!”) survive him.

It is long ago having been convinced that you can be anywhere you want to be on Christmas Eve, at least in spirit, that takes me to so many places.

When we were children, my mother told me and siblings that the cows in the barns knelt in reverence to the Christ Child at the stroke of midnight every Christmas Eve. The countryside was too far away from the City of Halifax where we lived to go and check on it for ourselves.

But I’m glad that we never got to the barns at midnight.  Much better growing up thinking that the cows were paying their midnight homage to the King of Kings.

Two days before this Christmas Eve, German journalist, historian and ‘Face of God’ author Paul Badde responded from Rome to an email I sent wishing him a Blessed Christmas:

“Thank you, dear Judi,

“And the joy of the shepherds and of these altar boys attached for your Christmas night”, he wrote with a picture of the famed —- painting of altar boys ringing the church bells seen above.

What better company to have than the images of shepherds and altar boys on Christmas Eve!

It was this time three years when Badde sent me what I regard as my most treasured gift of all: a high resolution photo of the image of the Holy Face of Manoppello from his personal collection

The framed photo of the image now hangs on the wall beside my bed.  It is the last thing I see every night before turning the light off, and the first thing I see each and every morning upon waking.

“Unpainted by any human hand, the Face of God is an incredible little-known supernatural treasure kept at a tiny Capuchin Church,  in Manoppello, Italy.

Holy Face of Manoppello

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“Or as Badde himself describes it: “For 400 years the most important relic of Christendom, before which the Emperor of Byzantium knelt once a year, preserved between two panes of glass,  has been on display in a tiny Capuchin church which is completely empty for many hours each day, in the town of Manoppello, in Italy’s Abruzzi region. (Catholic Culture)

“It is the missing image of Jesus Christ, for which all of Western civilization senses the need.  Today, finally, it must be regarded as rediscovered.”

Untold millions the world over never give up on their yearning search for the Face of God.  Not this Christmas, or any other.

There is good news for English-speaking people who follow the story of ‘The Holy Face of Manoppello’ coming in 2018:

“Here I send you a new booklet I produced recently in German and Italian with a rough translation into English by the brave Ray Frost from San Francisco,” Badde wrote.  “I’m still working to refine it a little bit with some beautiful additions before I try to find an American publishing house for it as soon as possible. Please keep this project in your prayers. 

“Yours, Paul Badde”. 



“Badde’s new 2017 booklet, which is entitled From Face to Face: The Face of God in Manoppello (Von Angesicht zu Angesicht. Das Antlitz Gottes in Manoppello, published in German by Christiana-Verlag, and at the same time in Italian as Il tesoro di Manoppello – Davanti al volto umano di Dio by Effatta editrice), will be translated into English early in the New Year.

“Paul Badde often starts his story about this relic with the story of a saint. In this case, that saint’s name is Padre Domenico da Cese, a stigmatist Capuchin monk who has been declared Servant of God in 2015 and whose ecclesiastical process of canonization is underway. When people from Manoppello used to visit St. Padre Pio, Padre Pio himself would ask them why they would come to him, since they have their own saint in Padre Domenico.” (Mystic Post)

The story of Padre Domenico’s life, all the way from his having been buried, together with his father, under the ruins of a church in Italy in a 1915 earthquake, before being pulled out alive, at age 10;  to his moving to Manoppello to be near the image that was to remain the centre of his life, as a priest and Capuchin monk;  all the way to the day of his death from injuries sustained after having been struck down by a speeding car,  is told within the engrossing pages of this new Badde book.

For many the true story of Padre Domenico will be a Christmas gift cherished unlike any other.

Meanwhile, for all those with whom I will be there in spirit on Christmas Eve 2017: “Felicem Natalen Christi!”

“Christus Rex”

Judi McLeod -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh,, Drudge Report,

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