Padre Pio is a perfect patron for Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy
L. Allen Jr., Associate editor, Crux, February 4, 2016
On Wednesday, his remains, along with those of Croatian Capuchin St. Leopold Mandić, were moved from their locations in San Giovanni Rotondo and Padova, respectively,
for a week-long exposition in Rome. They arrived at the basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, where a liturgy of welcome was led by the local superior of the Capuchin order, and then a Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the pope’s
vicar for Rome.
On Thursday, leaders of the various branches of the Franciscan family will celebrate separate Masses at St. Lawrence Outside the Walls,
followed by a penitential service led by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and more or less the “director” of the pope’s jubilee. Confessions will be available throughout
On Friday, a procession will lead the relics of the two saints to St. Peter’s Basilica. The procession will depart from the parish church
of San Salvatore in Lauro, just across the Tiber river from the Vatican.
On Saturday, Pope Francis will hold a jubilee audience for members of Padre Pio
prayer groups around the world, as well as employees of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, the massive hospital founded by Padre Pio, and members of the Italian diocese of Manfredonia – Vieste – San Giovanni Rotondo, where his principal shrine
On Feb. 9, Francis will celebrate a Mass for all the Capuchins of the world.
On Feb. 11, the relics of Padre Pio will be moved to Pietrelcina.
… the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, or “House for the Relief of Suffering,” a massive hospital founded in San Giovanni Rotondo in 1956 in response to the personal desire of Padre
Pio. Now considered one of the most efficient and highly specialized medical facilities in Europe, the hospital counts 1,000 beds divided into 40 medical and surgical units, treating 57,000 inpatients each year from Italy and all over the world.
The original idea of the hospital was to make high-end medical care available to the area’s poor, and serving the poor remains the heart of its mission today.
“If it were possible, I would make the home of gold,” Padre Pio once said, “because the sick person is Jesus, and everything we do for the Lord is
too little.” He called the poor and the sick “Twice Jesus.”
… Padre Pio, who was likely the most indefatigable Catholic confessor of the 20th century.
The statistics are staggering.
Early on, Padre Pio would hear confessions 15 to 19 hours every day. Later, by the 1940s and 50s, he was forced to curtail things a bit, limiting himself to eight hours a day. Still, in 1967, the year before his death, he heard the confessions of around 15,000
women and 10,000 men, for an average of 70 people every day.
Overall, during his lifetime he’s believed to have heard 5 million confessions.
Padre Pio recommended that Catholics receive the sacrament once a week, saying, “Even if a room is closed, it is necessary to dust it after a week.”
Penitents would flock to confess to Padre Pio, despite his reputation as a fairly demanding confessor.
“It is a tremendous responsibility to sit in the tribunal of the confessional,” Padre Pio once said. “God runs after the most stubborn souls. They cost him too much to abandon them.”
Padre Pio, the famed Capuchin stigmatic who died in 1968 and who’s now formally “St. Pio of Pietrelcina” after his canonization in 2002 under St. John Paul II.