The relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina will be on display from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. The local stop is part of a historic U.S. tour commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death. Better known as Padre Pio, the saint died in 1968 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
Bishop Donald Kettler will celebrate a Mass in honor of St. Padre Pio at 7 p.m.
The relics for public veneration include St. Pio’s glove, crusts of his wounds, cotton-gauze with St. Pio’s blood stains, a lock of his hair, his mantle and his handkerchief, soaked with his sweat hours before he died.
The tour is sponsored by Saint Pio Foundation, based in New Rochelle, New York.
Padre Pio was born May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. At age 10 he first expressed his desire for priesthood and entered the Capuchin order at age 15. During his lifetime, St. Pio was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge. He bore the stigmata, which are wounds that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. His stigmata emerged during World War I, after Pope Benedict XV asked Christians to pray for an end to the conflict.
Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ pierced his side. A few weeks later, Jesus again appeared and St. Pio received the full stigmata, which remained with him until his death.
Relics of a saint are not worshiped but treated with religious respect. Touching or praying in the presence of such objects helps an individual focus on the saint’s life and virtues so that, through the saint’s prayer or intercession before God, the individual will be drawn closer to God, according to the foundation.
Watch future issues of The Visitor for more information about the tour.