Herald: StPadre Pio – A relevant saint for our times

StPadre Pio – A relevant saint for our times

23 Sep 2018 04:56am IST

Report by
Fr Steve Rodrigues, O.F.M.Cap.

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23 Sep 2018 04:56am IST

Report by
Fr Steve Rodrigues, O.F.M.Cap.

Leave a comment

StPadre Pio (1887-1968), a Franciscan Capuchin friar, is undoubtedly one of the greatest mystics and saints in the history of the Church. The feast of this great miracle-worker and a powerful intercessor is celebrated on September 23

StPadre Pio (1887-1968), a Franciscan Capuchin friar, was

blessed by God in many wonderful and mysterious ways, the most dramatic being the stigmata, which he bore for fifty years. Among his other gifts were bilocation, prophecy, reading of souls, levitation, apparition, conversion, ‘odour of sanctity’ and miraculous cures. People are still being cured through his intercession in ways that cannot be explained by medicine or science. StPio is a great miracle-worker and a powerful intercessor whose feast is celebrated on September 23.

This humble Capuchin friar shocked the world with his life, by entirely dedicating himself to prayer. Pope Paul VI said of the saint: “Look at all the people from all over the world he gathered around him! Why? Because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and was – it is not easy to say it – one who bore the wounds of Our Lord. He was a man of prayer and suffering.”

Despite his suffering, he was unfailingly compassionate and jovial. StPio’s example and spiritual guidance are beams of light for individuals and families striving to live out the Catholic faith in a sin-darkened world. He had great concern over the family teaching that the family is ‘the first school and the first church’ because that’s where the children learn to pray and learn about God.

One notable pilgrim who met the mysterious friar was StJohn Paul II, who said: “I wish to thank the Lord for having given us dear Padre Pio, for having given him to our generation in this very tormented century. In his love for God and for his brothers and sisters, he is a sign of great hope.”

On June 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II officially declared his spiritual friend, Padre Pio, a saint.

As a tireless confessor, Padre Pio sat in the confessional for 15 to 17 hours a day. He is said to have heard millions of confessions, giving hope to the desperate and distressed penitents. When people went into the confessional, they met a man who truly had a merciful heart, a tender confessorreally concerned about their salvation.

The Rosary was part and parcel of Padre Pio’s love for the Mother of Jesus. Padre Pio states that “The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ against Satan for these times, a weapon of defence and salvation.” Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. Many know Mary only with their minds but Padre Pio knew her with his heart. The Rosary has been the seatbelt that we need in these times of turbulence in our troubled society.

Padre Pio had a huge influence as a spiritual guide and healer. The core of his message to all was the simple command of liberation: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” Those five simple words were his prescription for eternal health that gave comfort and healing to millions. Could there be a more fitting message for our time of stress and uncertainty - or a more effective means to spiritual growth? Life is stressful, but Padre Pio had the way to deal with all of life’s troubles. So it is wise and still relevant today to follow the admonition - pray, hope and don’t worry.

Marking the 50th anniversary of his death (1968-2018) and centennial of the saint’s stigmata (1918-2018), Pope Francis recently visited Padre Pio’s tomb. While there, he reminded the faithful to imitate the rock-star saint and continue loving God and Church. This year also marks the 50th year of the presence of the Capuchins at Padre Pio Friary, Modi, Navelim. This Friary is the first house in India to be named after the saint. It was a medical dispensary. It continues to be a social centre, a house of formation for minor seminarians and a shrine of Padre Pio. The friars spend their lives giving witness to fraternal life, prayer, preaching, organising retreats, mission preaching, ecology, writing ministry, hearing confessions and social works. It is here that the devotees of Padre Pio and many others flock in large numbers with such devotion and unction to attend Mass, to make a good confession, attend novenas and retreats and offer prayers that bring renewal in their personal and family lives. People do experience silent miracles happening in their lives even today through the powerful intercession of St Padre Pio.

God gave us Padre Pio to remind a sceptical world that God exists and that intrigues and scandals are trivial compared to the great goal of heaven.

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