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Saint Padre Pio’s heart relic to visit Philippines

Saint Padre Pio’s heart relic to visit Philippines

Pope Francis prays in front of the body of St. Pio in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, March 17, 2018. CNS/COURTESY OF SHRINE OF ST. PIO PIETRELCINA

By Roy Lagarde

May 8, 2018

Manila, Philippines

For the first time, the “incorruptible” heart of a celebrated saint will visit the Philippines this October.

Fr. Joselin Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of Saint Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, said the relic of Saint Padre Pio will be in the country for at least 20 days, from Oct. 6 to 26.

The reliquary holding Saint Padre Pio’s heart. PHOTO FROM FR. JOSELIN GONDA’S FACEBOOK

Initially, he said that the visit was set for 10 days in early September to coincide with the centenary of the appearance of the widely venerated stigmata of Padre Pio.

However, the plan did not push through because it will coincide with the Italian bishops’ assembly in San Giovanni Rotondo, in southern Italy, wherein the shrine that houses the saint’s remains and relics is located.

“But we are blessed to have this heart relic of St. Padre Pio for 20 days instead of ten days,” Gonda said in a Facebook post.

“We hope and plan that it can visit Manila for Luzon, Cebu for the Visayas and Davao for Mindanao for 3 days each,” he said.

The priest said that they are also coordinating with the Commission on Clergy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in planning out the activities.

According to Gonda, the pastoral visit becomes more meaningful as the local Church celebrates the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Life. “Padre Pio was chosen as the model for all priests and religious,” he said.

Born in Pietrelcina, Padre Pio came to the Capuchin monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo in 1916 and made his home there for 52 years until his death in March 1968.

Besides being devoted to God. he was known for his care of the sick, powers of healing and prophesy. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.