Today at the morning Mass I took a relic of the good priest brought to church by a faithful parishioner and blessed the congregants after my brief homily. They came up one by one and I blessed them with these words: “Through the intercession of Padre Pio, may almighty God give you pardon, peace and healing.” I made the sign of the cross with the relic over the people. Then we moved on to the Offertory.
Across the globe, a special Mass was commemorating this saintly monk…
During his homily today, Cardinal Bertone recalled the figure of Padre Pio, describing him as “a disciple of Christ who sought no other glory than to love and suffer for him. He was a priest who wanted nothing other than to be consumed in love for God and his brethren.”
“He was a sincere son of the Church, and preferred not to defend himself, even on the most painful occasions, dying to himself in the docile silence of difficult but fruitful obedience,” he added.
Forty years after his death, “Saint Pio is like a channel of water that gushes richly, and at whose source all can drink the fresh water of truth and love that the Lord offers in abundance to all,” added the cardinal.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina is one of the most venerated saints of Italy. A Capuchin friar, he received the stigmata in 1918 and died in 1968. Pope John Paul II canonized him on June 16, 2002.
It was June 15, 1921, and in answer to a question posed by Bishop Rossi, Padre Pio said: “On Sept. 20, 1918, I was in the choir of the church after celebrating Mass, making the thanksgiving when I was suddenly overtaken by powerful trembling and then there came calm and I saw Our Lord in his crucified form.
“He was lamenting the ingratitude of men, especially those consecrated to him and favored by him.”
“Then,” Padre Pio continued, “his suffering was apparent as was his desire to join souls to his Passion. He invited me to let his pains enter into me and to meditate on them and at the same time concern myself with the salvation of others. Following this, I felt full of compassion for the Lord’s pains and I asked him what I could do.
“I heard this voice: ‘I will unite you with my Passion.’ And after this the vision disappeared, I came back to myself, my reason returned and I saw these signs here from which blood flowed. Before this I did not have these.”
Padre Pio then said that the stigmata were not the result of a personal request of his own but came from an invitation of the Lord, who, lamenting the ingratitude of men, and consecrated persons in particular, conferred on Padre Pio a mission as the culmination of an interior mystical journey of preparation.
“Further, the wounds emitted the intense odor of violets rather than the fetid stench that degenerative processes, tissue necrosis or infections usually cause.”
Information courtesy of ZENIT