Italy: Body of Padre Pio Exposed for Public Veneration

Source: FSSPX News


The website of the Order of Capuchin Friars announced that the exposition of the mortal remains of Padre Pio da Pietrelcina opened on April 24, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his death, would last until the end of the year 2008. Padre Pio is exposed in a crystal case, in the crypt of the Capuchin church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in San Giovanni Rotondo, in Apulia. The tomb was opened almost 40 years after his burial on September 27, 1968.

Francesco Forgione was born in a modest family, on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, in Southern Italy. His mother, Maria Giuseppa de Nunzio said of him: “He was good and obedient, and never indulged any whim. Morning and evening, he would go to church to pray to Jesus and the Blessed Virgin. During the day, he would not go out with his friends. I used to tell him: Francesco, you should go out to play. But he would refuse: I don’t want to go, because they blaspheme.” At the age of 16, he was admitted as a cleric in the Capuchin Order and was ordained a priest on August 10, 1914. On September 4, 1916, he was sent to the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo. There, on September 20, 1918, as he was praying before a crucifix, he received the gift of the stigmata which remained visible until his death. He was the first priest ever to receive the stigmata. He died on September 23, 1968.

On the first day of the public showing, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said during the homily: “The Capuchin friar had lived in full union with the crucified Jesus during his life on earth and now lives in the definitive communion of the risen Lord…the relics are the announcement of a new creature who will rise in communion with the risen Lord.”

Msgr. Domenico D’Ambrosio, Archbishop of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo said on Vatican Radio: “I approached St. Pio with fear and trembling. What emerged from the immediate contact with the saint? On the one hand, there is the constant reminder of the holiness of this person and on the other part, of my lack of holiness, so that there was a natural fear to approach him, because I felt so unworthy. At the same time, there is the ideal of calling us to holiness, which we must put into practice, witness and incarnate in our lives, what the Lord has designed for each one of us. Padre Pio has reminded me and has in fact recalled me to this responsibility in my life.” Archbishop D’Ambrosio added: “Here there is a holiness, which says something also for humanity in our time. Even this concrete and material reality in front of us is a transparency, an Epiphany of the holiness of God, which we cannot see, but which to some extent at least we can see in some way in the saints.”

“We have opened the sepulcher and taken out the first coffin, with all the seals. I checked the seals, broke them and opened the first coffin which was somewhat rusty.” The local bishop, who presided over the opening of the triple coffin, declared that the hands of the Capuchin friar were “as smooth as if they had just been manicured,” the stigmata had disappeared at the time of his death.

The public showing of the mortal remains of Padre Pio has already attracted more than 180,000 visitors in ten days, declared a spokesman for the Order of Capuchin friars in San Giovanni Rotondo to Apic news agency on May 6. (Sources: ofmcap/Apic)