For the uninitiated, the feast of St Pius of Pietrelcina might easily pass with little interest. Mention the name Padre Pio, however, and ears prick up. This is a modern saint who died on 23 September 1968 and was canonised on 16 June 2002. His incorrupt body lies in a glass casket in San Giovanni Rotondo in Southern Italy.
Prizing the qualities of Purity; Humility; Obedience; and Faith for his Call, his whole life was given to serving Jesus Christ and his people, especially the poor.
He is well known for the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, which appeared on his body and remained with him for the last 50 years of his life. The stigmata are real wounds which bleed and cause pain. Padre Pio said that they hurt all the time, even at night. He covered them with a cloth or bandage, even when celebrating Mass.
Known for this compassion, he would often hear confessions for up to 10 hours a day and many people sought his counsel. Miracles occurred even during his lifetime. One of these was his reported appearance to a soldier in war when he was nowhere near there. Incidentally, the concept of bi-location cannot be explained, maybe opening up a discussion on time in eternity.
The unselfish and dedicated example of St Pius was witnessed by people still living today, many of whom were drawn back to Christ through his influence. We give thanks to God for the life of St Pius of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio, and ask for his prayers for us today.
God bless and stay safe. Dc Mike & the team.