Thursday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)—(1887-+1968) Patron Saint of Civil Defense Volunteers and Adolescents
Book of the Prophet Haggai 1:1-8, Psalm 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6,9, & Luke 9:7-9
Today, the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, or Padre Pio, as he is known worldwide. Padre Pio was a man who endured numerous sufferings and trials throughout his life with great patience, seeing in them a way to conform himself more with Our Lord Crucified. He was a man of constant prayer, "I am a poor Franciscan who prays," he said, of charity and generosity. By administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Padre Pio saw Jesus in the sick and the suffering.
Many people visited Padre Pio to ask him for prayers and to intercede for them to God throughout his life. Among them was the Archbishop of Cracow, Poland, a future pope and saint, John Paul II, who asked him to pray for a Polish woman sick with throat cancer. Within two weeks, she was cured of her illness. There are many reports of cures through the intercession of Padre Pio while he was alive.
On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus during his thanksgiving after Mass. When it ceased, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet, and side. The stigmata caused him much pain and blood loss. He also experienced a significantly elevated body temperature which his doctors could not explain. Finally, he had frequent night visits, insults, attacks, and thrashings by the devil, angered by the many souls he gained for Christ.
On two occasions, in 1924 and 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was put into question. He was then prohibited from celebrating the Holy Mass publicly and from hearing confessions. Despite it all, Padre Pio maintained his calm and never complained. Eventually, the restrictions were removed.
Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968. He was beatified in 1999 and canonized on June 16, 2002, by Pope John Paul II, before a record-breaking crowd at Saint Peter's Square. In his homily, Saint John Paul II said, "The life and mission of Padre Pio prove that difficulties and sorrows if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness, which opens onto the horizons of a greater good, known only to the Lord."
Question of the Day: Will you ask for Saint Padre Pio's intercession in your time of need?
Prayer: "Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer." —Padre Pio