St. Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
Friday, September 16, 2022
Born Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio grew up in a family of farmers in southern Italy. At the age of 15, Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio. He was ordained in 1910 and was drafted during World War I. After he was discovered to have tuberculosis, he was discharged. In 1917, he was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, 75 miles from the city of Bari on the Adriatic.
On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet, and side.
Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after a 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he heard confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him. Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled.
Padre Pio saw Jesus in all the sick and suffering. Shortly before he died, the stigmata began to heal. When his body was examined by the doctors, they found that fresh, white skin had grown over the healed wounds. His life on earth was over, his earthly sufferings endured. He was journeying to the house of the Father where he prays for us all today in the presence of God.
Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968, and was beatified in 1999. In one of the largest such ceremonies in history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16, 2002.
Referring to that day's Gospel (Matthew 11:25-30) at Padre Pio’s canonization Mass in 2002, Saint John Paul II said: “The Gospel image of ‘yoke’ evokes the many trials that the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo endured. Today we contemplate in him how sweet is the ‘yoke’ of Christ and indeed how light the burdens are whenever someone carries these with faithful love. The life and mission of Padre Pio testify that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted with love, transform themselves into a privileged journey of holiness, which opens the person toward a greater good, known only to the Lord.”
Source: Franciscan Media. Website: franciscanmedia.org.