LINCOLN (SNR) – Relics of the renowned 20th century mystic and healer, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina – better known as Padre Pio – will be at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, 3500 Sheridan Blvd. in Lincoln, May 13.
The relics will be visible for veneration from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A vigil Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. in honor of St. Padre Pio. Rector Msgr. Robert Tucker will be the celebrant.
The relics include a fingerless glove that the saint used to cover his stigmata, the mysterious wounds similar to those Jesus suffered on the cross; a piece from the bed upon which Padre Pio slept in the monastery; and a piece of cloth that Padre Pio used to clean his stigmata.
The relics will be on display to the public between liturgical celebrations. The Saint Pio Foundation, which is sponsoring the tour on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Padre Pio’s birth, and the 15th anniversary of his canonization, will sell books and items related to Padre Pio in the entryway of the cathedral.
St. Pio was born May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, and baptized Francesco Forgione. He first expressed his desire for priesthood at age 10. In order to pay for the preparatory education, his father, Grazio Forgione, emigrated in the United States in 1899, where he worked for several years.
The future saint entered the Capuchin order at 15, taking the name Pio. He was ordained in 1910 at the age of 23.
During his lifetime, Padre Pio was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge, who bore the stigmata. Stigmata is the term the Catholic Church uses to speak about the wounds an individual receives that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. They can appear on the forehead, hands, wrists, and feet.
Pio’s stigmata emerged during World War I, after Pope Benedict XV asked Christians to pray for an end to the conflict. Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ pierced his side. A few weeks later, on September 20, 1918, Jesus again appeared to him, and he received the full stigmata. It remained with him until his death September 23, 1968. Pope John Paul II canonized him in 2002.
Relics are physical objects associated with a saint or candidate for sainthood – part of the person’s body, or something with which he or she was in contact. Relics are not worshiped, but treated with religious respect. Touching or praying in the presence of such an object helps a faithful individual focus on the saint’s life and virtues, so that through the saint’s prayer or intercession before God, the individual will be drawn closer to God.
The practice of praying with relics is recorded in Scriptures many times. In the Old Testament, as soon as a dying man “touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet” (2 Kgs. 13:20-21). And in the earliest days of the Church, “Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles” (Acts 5:12) and those needing prayer hoped that at lest the shadow of St. Peter might pass over them. And, “so extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)
More information about St. Pio is at www.saintpiofoundation.org. The Saint Pio Foundation promotes awareness of St. Pio and his mission by working with institutions and individuals who share the same vision to serve “those in need of relief of suffering.”
Funds raised by the Saint Pio Foundation are used to provide grants to American Catholic healthcare, educational, social, religious, and cultural partner organizations. The Saint Pio Foundation is also committed to support the work of the Capuchin Friars Minor of Pietrelcina, Italy, where Saint Pio was born.