Canonisation of Padre Pio

 At 10 a.m. on Sunday in the presence of more than 300,000 people who filled St. Peter's Square and the surrounding streets, John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist and canonized the Italian, Blessed Pio of Pietrelicna (Francesco Forgione), priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins. The two subjects of the friar's miracles were present at the ceremony: Consiglia de Martino and Matteo Colella. In 1992, the former was inexplicably cured of the rupture of a lymph vessel, something which would normally result in death; the latter, a child now almost ten years old, recovered two years ago from an irreversible coma caused by the sudden onset of meningitis. In his homily the Pope affirmed that Jesus' words to His disciples: "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," are "a magnificent synthesis of the life of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who today is pronounced a saint. The gospel image of the 'yoke' evokes the many trials that the humble Capuchin of St. Giovanni Rotondo had to face. ... The life and mission of Padre Pio provide testimony that difficulty and pain, if accepted with love, become a privileged path to sanctity." "Padre Pio generously distributed divine mercy, making himself available to everyone through openness, spiritual guidance and, especially, administration of the sacrament of penance. The ministry of the confessional, one of the distinguishing traits of his apostolate, attracted huge crowds of faithful to the monastery of St. Giovanni Rotondo," said the Pope during his homily, recalling that he himself had received confession from Padre Pio. He went on: "Even when that most particular of confessors treated pilgrims with apparent harshness they, conscious of the gravity of their sin and sincerely repentant, almost always turned back and yielded to the embrace of sacramental forgiveness." He requested that "Padre Pio's example may encourage priests to perform this ministry happily and diligently." The Holy Father stressed that: "the profound roots of this spiritual fertility are to be found in that intimate and constant union with God; eloquent testimony of which are the long hours he spent in prayer. ... That fundamental characteristic of his spirituality continues in the 'Prayer Groups' founded by him, which offer the Church and society the formidable contribution of incessant and faithful invocation. Padre Pio united prayer with intense charitable activity of which the 'House for the Relief of Suffering' is an extraordinary expression. Prayer and charity, a concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching, which today is again proposed to everyone." Following Mass and before praying the angelus, the Pope greeted all those who had taken part in the celebration: cardinals, archbishops, bishops, the minister general of the Capuchins, the members of Padre Pio's order and Italian civil and military authorities. The Pope added: "My thoughts go out particularly to all the pilgrims gathered in this square and the adjoining streets, especially those who have had to remain standing for such a long time. I also greet the faithful gathered in prayer at St. Giovanni Rotondo, and those following the event on television. In exhorting everyone to follow in the footsteps of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, I am happy to announce that his liturgical anniversary, with the denomination of 'obligatory,' will be inserted in the general Roman calendar on September 23, the day he died to be born in heaven." At the end of the ceremony, the Pope travelled by 'popemobile' around St. Peter's Square and the adjoining Via della Conciliazione in order to greet the tens of thousands of faithful who had come from Italy and other countries. Those who attended the canonization ceremony had to bear temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius and were doused with water to prevent them suffering sunstroke or dehydration. Source: Vatican Information Service

Share this story