00 6/1/2009 3:29 AM

One papal visit definitely on the books for spring next year is this one:

Shroud of Turin public expo
April 10-May 23, 2010:
Pope will visit but
date has not been set

By Cindy Wooden

ROME, April 28 (CNS) -- The Italian Archdiocese of Turin has announced that the Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the burial cloth of Christ, will be on public display April 10-May 23, 2010.

The public exposition in Turin's cathedral will offer members of the public their first opportunity to see the shroud since it underwent major cleaning and restoration in 2002.

The work involved removing 30 fabric patches and a fabric backing, known as the Holland Cloth, sewn onto the shroud in 1534 after a fire.

At the time of the work, Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin said trapped particles of dirt and scorched fabric had darkened parts of the Shroud of Turin and eventually could have made it difficult to see the shroud's image of a crucified man.

The removal of the Holland Cloth also permitted experts to photograph and digitally scan the back of the shroud.

Pope Benedict approved the expposition at a special audience for pilgrims from Turin led by Cardinal Poletto, at teh Aula Paolo VI last June 2, 2008.

Negatives of the Shroud photos show a full-length portrait of the Body encased by the Shroud.

The last public exposition of the Shroud of Turin was in 2000. It remained hidden in its specially designed protective case even in 2006 when the Winter Olympic Games brought tens of thousands of visitors to the city.

The Archdiocese of Turin's official Web site for information about the shroud -- www.sindone.org -- is operational even though it is undergoing a redesign in conjunction with the 2010 exposition. Visitors will be able to reserve an appointment in advance to see the shroud.

The archdiocese also said it expects Pope Benedict XVI will visit the city during the exposition period and celebrate Mass on the grounds outside the cathedral. A specific date for the papal visit has not been announced.