Faithful flock to see Shroud of Turin replica in Shenandoah

Published: Feb 25 2013 05:56:47 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 25 2013 11:04:53 AM EST
SHENANDOAH, Pa. -

The faithful flocked to Shenandoah Sunday.

Inside St. Michael's Catholic Church sits an authentic 14-foot replica of the Shroud of Turin. It's not only a piece of history, but a symbol and religious reminder for millions around the world.

"It builds up a special feeling in my heart and in my soul," shared Paul Pecunas. "And to think of what Jesus actually went through for our sins."

"I was sad God had to die for us, but at the same time I'm so happy," explained Jim Rehnert. "I don't know if it's tears of joy or tears of sadness but I just feel so affected by it."

It's one of only a few Pope approved replica's worldwide, and it's expected to draw thousands to the Schuylkill County church to experience it firsthand. Jessica Palumbo and her family drove more than two hours to see the shroud.

"It is overwhelming what you can actually see through the shroud, I mean his face and actually what had happened to him," she added. "It's very humbling."

The centuries old linen cloth is surrounded by mystery and controversy. Through the years researchers have tried to prove or disprove the belief that this image seared onto the cloth was made when Jesus died and was resurrected.

"Our Holy Father Benedict said it's not for the church to prove that it is the body of our Lord, but for them to disprove that it isn't," said Monsignor Myron Grabowsky.

Those with true faith say the evidence is there.

"I know some people really don't believe, but when you get here and you see it, it's very hard to deny what's actually in front of you," said Palumbo.

"They've done scientific studies on it and they can't prove it's false," explained Rehnert. "We have to believe, and this just strengthens our faith."

If you want to make the pilgrimage to see the replica, it will be on display at St. Michael's Church at 114 South Chestnut Street in Shenandoah from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through March 9.