'New' St. Pio relics to be displayed at cathedral

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - Updated: 7:00 pm
Pittsburgh Catholic Staff Report

A different set of Padre Pio relics is now scheduled to be displayed May 9 at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.

The originally selected items associated with 20th-century mystic and healer St. Pio of Pietrelcina will not be permitted to visit the U.S., according to a man with the Saint Pio Foundation, which is sponsoring the relics tour. The relics now set to visit Pittsburgh are:

• A glove belonging to the saint that is owned by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for the Vatican City State, and personally chosen for the tour.

• A small piece of the bed upon which Padre Pio slept at the monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo, belonging to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

• A small piece of cloth that the Italian saint used to clean his stigmata wounds, owned by the same Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

The relics will be on public display between two liturgies: a Mass celebrated by Bishop David Zubik at 12:05 p.m., and an 8 p.m. prayer service led by Capuchin Father Thomas Betz, the Capuchin Franciscan provincial in Pittsburgh.

The items will be inside protective coverings on which people will be permitted to place rosaries and other religious articles.

In the Catholic Church, relics are physical objects associated with a saint or candidate for sainthood — part of the person’s body or something that he or she was in contact with. Relics are not worshiped but treated with respect.

Touching or praying in the presence of such an object helps the faithful focus on the saint’s life and virtues, so that through the saint’s prayer the individual will be drawn closer to God.

The Saint Pio Foundation will sell books and items related to St. Pio in the Fifth Avenue entryway of the cathedral.

St. Pio was born May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, and entered the Capuchin order at 15 years old, taking the name Pio. He was ordained a priest in 1910 at age 23.

During his lifetime, Padre Pio was known as someone with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge who bore the stigmata, a term used to describe the wounds an individual receives that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus. They can appear on the forehead, hands, wrists and feet.

More information about St. Pio is at http://www.saintpiofoundation.org.

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