On October 4, 2017, St. Rita Catholic Church in New Orleans will welcome several relics of Saint Padre Pio, a very popular saint of the 20th Century as part of a national tour sponsored by the St. Pio Foundation. The relics are expected to draw thousands of pilgrims from across the region to St. Rita for prayer, reflection and veneration.
The schedule for October 4 is as follows:
- 7:00am - Morning Prayer with the Reception of the Relics
- 8:30am - School Mass for St. Rita Elementary School, Dominican High School, and Xavier University students (not open to the public due to seating limitations)
- 9:30am-5:30pm - Public Veneration of the Relics
- 6:00pm - Mass in Honor of St. Padre Pio Celebrated by Most Rev. Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans
Veneration of relics is a practice for Catholics. In the Catholic Church, 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 is meant to help 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.
Objects that will be available for veneration on October 4 at St. Rita include:
- St. Pio's glove
- St. Pio's crusts of the wounds
- Cotton-gauze with St. Pio's blood stains
- A lock of St. Pio's hair
- St. Pio's mantle
- St. Pio's handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died
This event is sponsored at St. Rita Catholic Church in New Orleans by the St. Pio Foundation, The Catholic Foundation Archdiocese of New Orleans and Catholic Women in Action. For more information about the visit go online to http://www.stritanola.com/stpio.
About St. Padre Pio
Saint Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, and baptized Francesco Forgione. He first expressed his desire to be a priest at age 10 and entered the Capuchin religious order at age 15. He was ordained a priest 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.
His 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 on September 23, 1968. Pope John Paul II canonized him in 2002.