Our Friend, Padre Pio

Many of you may be devotees of St. Padre Pio. Indeed, he was a great model of mercy. This year
the Church celebrates the 50th anniversary of his death (on Sept. 23, 1968), and the 100th anniversary of his receiving the stigmata.

To celebrate these anniversaries, Pope Francis visited the Italian towns of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio's hometown) and San Giovanni Rotundo (where Padre Pio lived as a friar) in March of this year. He said to those in attendance in Pietrelcina:

[Saint Padre Pio] loved the Church. He loved the Church with all her problems, with all her difficulties, with all our sins. Because we are all sinners, we are ashamed, but the Spirit of God has called us within this Church who is holy. And he loved the holy Church and her sinful children, all of them. This was Saint Pio. ...
Padre Pio immersed himself in prayer to comply ever better with the divine plans. Through the celebration of Holy Mass, which daily constituted the heart of his day and the fullness of his spirituality, he reached a high level of union with the Lord. During this period, he received special mystical gifts from above, which preceded the manifestation of the signs of the Passion of Christ in his flesh. ...
This humble Capuchin friar amazed the world with his life devoted to prayer and patient listening to his brothers, on whose suffering he poured out the love of Christ as a balm. Imitating his heroic example and his virtues, may you also become instruments of God's love, of Jesus' love for the weakest.

Later that day, during his homily at the Holy Mass in San Giovanni Rotundo, Pope Francis said:

Saint Pio, 50 years since his departure to Heaven, helps us, because he wished to leave us the legacy of prayer. He would recommend: "Pray a lot, my children, pray always, never tiring" (Words to the Second International Congress of Prayer Groups, 5 May 1966). ...

Saint Pio fought evil throughout his life and fought it wisely, like the Lord: with humility, with obedience, with the Cross, offering up suffering for love. And everyone admired him; but few do the same. Many speak well, but how many follow his example? Many are willing to put a "like" on the page of the great saints, but who acts like them? Because the Christian life is not a "like"; it is "my offering". Life is scented when it is offered as a gift; it is tasteless when it is kept to oneself. ...

In the Gospel Jesus reaffirms: "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden" (Mt 11:28). Who among us can feel excluded from the invitation? Who can say, "I do not need it"? Saint Pio offered his life and untold suffering to enable his brothers and sisters to encounter the Lord. And the decisive way of encountering him was through Confession, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There, a wise life begins and starts afresh, loved and forgiven; there begins the healing of the heart. Padre Pio was an apostle of the confessional. Today too he invites us there; and he says to us: "Where are you going? To Jesus or to your sadness? What are you going back to? To the One who saves you or, to your despondency, your regrets, your sins? Come, come, the Lord is awaiting you. Take courage, no reason is so grave as to exclude you from his mercy.

May we all imitate St. Padre Pio in his care and love for the weakest among us. Let us pray for one another, show mercy to one another, and trust in Jesus. Saint Padre Pio, pray for us.


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