Padre Pio’s heart relic to stay in the Philippines for 20 days

October 9, 2018 - 6:27 PM
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Padre Pio's heart relic for Interaksyon
The heart relic of Padre Pio stays at the country for nearly a month. (The STAR/Rudy Santos)

Crowds of Filipinos gathered to venerate Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina’s “incorrupt” heart relic brought to the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros on Tuesday.

The relic will stay in the cathedral for three days, according to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and it will be open for 24 hours from October 9 to October 10.

Photos and short clips of the pilgrimage were shared on social media.

For the rector of the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Batangas, the visit will be a “time of grace” for Filipinos amid “uncertain times” in the country.

“This will be a time of grace for Filipinos, especially the devotees of Padre Pio, who are now wallowing in near hopelessness during these uncertain times of our nation’s history,” Fr. Joselin “Jojo” Gonda said.

This year’s visit was also timely being that it is the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Padre Pio’s stigmata, or manifestations of Jesus Christ’s bodily wounds, on his hands and feet.

The Catholic Church considered this event in his life as a miracle.

The original plan was to have the relic here for only 10 days, Gonda shared, and it was supposed to be held last month in line with the anniversary.

However, it did not push through because this coincided with another event that took place at the official home of Padre Pio’s artifacts, the San Giovanni Rotondo in Southern Italy.

“But we are blessed to have this heart relic of St. Padre Pio for 20 days instead of ten days,” Gonda said.

Moreover, the Catholic faithful also happened to celebrate the saint’s 50th death anniversary last September 23.

A month of venerating Padre Pio

Filipinos will have almost a month, from October 6 to 26, to visit and pay homage to the relic of the Padre Pio in its scheduled tour in different parts of the country.

The incorrupt sacred object first stayed at the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, Batangas on October 6, where at least 32,000 Filipinos reportedly journeyed to.

Last Monday, the doors of the Santisimo Rosario of the University of Santo Tomas were also opened overnight for public veneration.

After its leg in Manila, it is scheduled to be carried to the provinces of Cebu and Davao.

The Capuchin priest was born as Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887 in the town of Pietrelcina in Italy.

He took the name of Friar Pio when he entered as a novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at the Morcone commune in the province of Benevento, Italy.

He was ordained as a priest in 1910. It was during his priesthood when he received the stigmata on September 20, 1918.

Several years after his death, the Catholic Church declared him a saint on June 16, 2002.