On Relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and Prayer
I invite you to a special kind of prayer on Monday, September 23, 2019, the feast day of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (affectionately known as Padre Pio). St. Pio’s feast is going to be specially celebrated in our parish this year for a couple of reasons. First, we shall have an opportunity to venerate relics of St. Pio! Second, this September 23 is the 19th anniversary of my priestly ordination. You see, I have a deep devotion to St. Pio and my vocation to the priesthood is tightly connected with Padre Pio, long before his canonization in June, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. During my religious and priestly formation years, I prayed the same Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that Padre Pio offered for the intention of his spiritual children (I am proudly one of them) and venerated the third class relics of St. Pio. Prayerful devotion to St. Pio helped and still helps nurture my spiritual growth. On Monday, September 23 from 3 PM, we will get an opportunity to venerate relics of St. Pio at St. Peter’s. Reverend Fortunato Grottola, OFM, Cap of San Giovanni Rotondo will bring to us gloves and sacred vestments Padre Pio wore before he died and lead us in the veneration of the relics of the first priest to ever receive the stigmata.
Veneration of relic, a word derived from the Latin reliquiae, is a Christian devotion that glorifies God’s manifestation of his power through the sacred bodies of holy martyrs and saints, whose bodies as the Council of Trent taught, were living members of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6: 19) and which by the power of God will be raised up to eternal life and glorified. As shown in 2 Kings 13: 21, Acts 19:12 and Acts 5:15, contacts with bones, handkerchiefs, clothes and shadows of holy people of God brought about miracles. God works through created things. Hence, the Church permits veneration of authentic relics because the holy lives led by the saints and their closeness to God could aid our goal of seeking holiness. Veneration of relics and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament begin at 3 pm followed by our parish daily mass at 6:30pm. At the end of mass there will be opportunity for prayers of healing with relics of St. Pio.
With St Paul I invite you to prayer on Monday, September 23: “It is my wish, then, that in every place the men (and women) should pray lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument” (1 Tim 2:8). Come, let’s pray to God with St. Pio.
On a different subject, I want to plead with all of you to bear with any forceable or otherwise consequences on your Sunday routine as a result of the changes to mass schedule beginning October 5. I know some of you are going to find it hard to adjust but I plead with you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer to support this change. Let’s be open to it and see how it works out. Thanks for being an important part of St. Peter’s parish family.
In Christ our Love,
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP