Pope worships at Padre Pio shrine

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jserraglio
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Pope worships at Padre Pio shrine

Post by jserraglio » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:34 pm

New York Times

SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy — Pope Francis made his first visit on Sunday to the shrine of Padre Pio, one of Catholicism’s most popular saints, with rock-star standing among the faithful, who believe he bore the stigmata, the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion.
Welcomed by tens of thousands of cheering worshipers who lined the streets and thronged piazzas, Francis traveled to the two towns in southern Italy where the Capuchin friar, also known as St. Pio of Pietrelcina, lived and died.
The pastoral visit marked the centenary of the appearance of the widely venerated saint’s stigmata, as well as the 50th anniversary of his death.
The pope paid homage to the enduring legacy of Padre Pio, and celebrated the Campania town of Pietrelcina, where the saint was born Francesco Forgione in 1887.
Francis said this was the community where Pio “strengthened his humanity, learned to pray, and to recognize the Lord in the poor.”
In the second town, San Giovanni Rotondo, in the Puglia region, the pope celebrated Mass before 30,000 faithful. His homily recalled the work carried out by the Casa del Sollievo della Sofferenza, the hospital Pio founded in 1947, the prayer groups that he sponsored beginning in 1942 and his reputation as a tireless confessor.
The pope called Padre Pio an “apostle of the confessional.”
Before the Mass, Francis visited Santa Maria delle Grazie, the church where Padre Pio celebrated Mass for the last nine years of his life. There, he stood in silent prayer before the saint’s body, moved to the church from the crypt below. He touched and kissed the crucifix that Pio was praying to when he received the stigmata in 1918.
“He is the third pope to visit San Giovanni Rotondo; it’s establishing a continuity,” said Maurizio Placentino, the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, which oversees all things Padre Pio here. John Paul II, who canonized Pio, visited in 1987; and so did Benedict XVI in 2016.
“It’s a strong message that shows the continued attention of the church to this phenomenon: recognizing in Padre Pio a gift of God for our day,” he said.
The church did not always embrace Padre Pio. Both his superiors and the Vatican initiated more than a dozen investigations against him, and Pope John XXIII wrote of Padre Pio’s “immense deception.” But his successor, Paul VI, lifted the restrictions on Pio’s ministry.
Francis being Francis, he went off-script in Pietrelcina, addressing the “internal migration of young people,” a problem endemic to Italy’s less affluent regions, where work is scarce and many are forced to emigrate north — within Italy or to other European countries.
The pope called on locals to pray that young people find work, “among you, among the family and are not forced to leave to look for another way, while the country” spiraled into a decline.
But his mission in coming south was to honor Padre Pio, whose global following has grown significantly since his death in 1968. The mosaics that envelop the walls on the lower part of the saint’s shrine were paid for by a Philippine foundation dedicated to him.
The floor of the crypt where Padre Pio’s body is on view is littered with slips of papers, closed envelopes, photo-booth portraits and even money, mostly small bills. The faithful and other visitors slip similar mementos under the door of the cell where he spent the last years of his life in San Giovanni Rotondo, or into the confessional of the old church where he is said to have heard millions of confessions.
These handwritten pleas for assistance and spiritual sustenance “are too many to count,” said Stefano Campanella, the director of the television station Tele Radio Padre Pio and the author of several books about the saint.
Though St. Pio’s shrine is still popular, tourists who used to flock to it are coming for shorter daytime visits, the result of the country’s economic downturn.
“Now people come from all over Italy, but they travel overnight by bus and bring sandwiches. This helps the penitential aspect, but it depresses the economy of the city,” said Antonio Belpiede, the general procurator of the Capuchin order. He added, “San Giovanni Rotondo owes everything to Padre Pio, that’s for sure.”
Recently, relics of Padre Pio have begun traveling outside Italy. Last year, several — including a glove, a lock of his hair and cotton gauze stained with blood — went on tour in Mexico, Canada and the United States, including New York. Two years ago, his heart was displayed in America.
But many of the faithful want to be close to his home. Brady White, an American actor who is paid to play Santa at celebrity Christmas parties (he said he has seen the Kardashian-Jenner clan grow up), began traveling to San Giovanni Rotondo 16 years ago, after being “touched by Padre Pio,” he said.
On Saturday, he wore a specially made jacket commemorating Pope Francis’ visit here.
“I was a regular guy, but when Padre Pio wants you, he gets you,” he said.
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jbuck919
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Re: Pope worships at Padre Pio shrine

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:37 pm

Padre Pio was clearly a fraud, but his heart was in the right place, as, to an extent was his brain. He used his reputation to get the poorest part of Italy a full-service hospital when the level of medicine there at the time was primitive. If only Mother Teresa had had so much sense in dealing with the generous contributions made to her "cause."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: Pope worships at Padre Pio shrine

Post by jserraglio » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:27 pm

Saints do look like frauds to sinners like me whose heart is clearly not in the right place. That's precisely why they are saints and can work miracles and I am not and can't. Still, from a purely secular perspective, the aura of sainthood fascinates me.

jbuck919
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Re: Pope worships at Padre Pio shrine

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:41 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:27 pm
Saints do look like frauds to sinners like me whose heart is clearly not in the right place. That's precisely why they are saints and can work miracles and I am not and can't. Still, from a purely secular perspective, the aura of sainthood fascinates me.
I imagine that Pio's canonization was advanced by "miraculous" medical cures, as almost all such causes are today. However, in his own lifetime he was credited with bilocation (being in more than one place at the same time), a vision to allied pilots warning them against danger, and being able to read the minds of his confessees, and giving off a heaven-scented perfume that permeated his convent (Franciscans have convents, not monasteries) among other things. Then there is the stigmata. Pace St. Francis of Assisi, there is only one way to get those marks, and it is to self-inflict them. (Upon his death it was revealed that Pio's bandage-wrapped hands had long ago healed.) As I said, his real virtue lay in this program to build a hospital. Unlike Mother Teresa, who had no such excuse, he had no significant money to work with, but coopted the efforts of one particular doctor and convinced him to devote his life to the project.

If one considers it a pleasant coincidence that health and heaven happen to begin with the same three letters, consider that in both Greek and Latin the word for salvation (salus in Latin) is identical to the word for health.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
Posts: 3868
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Pope worships at Padre Pio shrine

Post by jserraglio » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:34 pm

Bilocation. Didn't Stephen Hawking say that its mirror inverse, time travel, was theoretically possible but not practical?

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