Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Padre Pio's Coming (and I'm going!)

The day Padre Pio died 
was also the first time I ever heard about him. We had walked home from school that afternoon--about half a mile--and had just gotten to the doorstep when Mom opened the door, sorrow written on her face. "Padre Pio died," she said with deep emotion. (Who was that? Some relative I had never heard of?) out that Mom was referring to an Italian priest who was known around the Catholic world: A Franciscan whose hands and feet bled as if he were crucified, who had been seen in two different places at the same time (documented incidents of bilocation), and who was said to be able to read the souls of those who came to him for confession, reminding people of sins they had forgotten to confess (or that they had deliberately withheld). He was also known to be quite severe at times, especially when dealing with the dishonest, while with people who were genuinely struggling to keep the Ten Commandments he was as tender as the father of the Prodigal Son. Suffering intensely from the mystical (but very real) wounds in his hands, feet, and side, he had a heart for the sick and used his growing fame to fund a "house for the relief of suffering" for the town near his Franciscan friary which had no hospital. (A state of the art hospital was inaugurated in 1956. Even the UN contributed toward its construction.) was a controversial figure during his life and still is. In 1923, the Holy Office could not confirm the supernatural origin of his stigmata, and ordered the faithful to "conform to this declaration." He was forbidden to write letters in answer to those who wrote for spiritual guidance. He was ordered to celebrate Mass in private without so much as an altar server, a restriction that stayed in place for ten years. When Pope John Paul was preparing to canonize him, I heard a venerable Franciscan comment with real outrage, "Padre Pio should not be canonized! I am not free to say why, but there are good reasons!" Here in Boston, more than one parish priest refused to inform parishioners about the upcoming three day "visit" by a major relic of Padre Pio. It's so...gauche.
Children's "chapter book" on St Pio.
As for me, though I'm not a big relic chaser (even though I have four first class relics in my office!),  but Padre Pio's heart is being brought to Boston this week and I have the possibility of participating, so I'm in. Why not do something out of the ordinary for one of the less-than-ordinary saints of my time? I already wrote out a list of prayer intentions (in 4 point handwriting), both sides. (Page two is coming soon.) So send me your intentions as well, and (God willing) on Thursday I will personally deliver them to Padre Pio (or at least to his heart). I will also be bringing with me the special intentions people have sent in with their donations for the generator that we need here at the motherhouse: they include loved ones on active duty in Afghanistan, medical emergencies or mysteries, family away from the sacraments... There's no end of things to pray about, and that's exactly what the saints want to do on our behalf!

If you are in the Boston area and hoping to join the fellowship, be sure to stop by the book table staffed by Sister Susan James and stocked with Padre Pio material for all ages--in English, Spanish and Portuguese. If you are not anywhere near, but interested in Padre Pio, you can still get a book or two: including a bio of Padre Pio for kids that's also available in e-book.

Not much of a Padre Pio fan? You'll enjoy John Allen's comments about what St Pio's canonization reveals about the Catholic not-as-top-down-as-people-think Church and the power of the people.

Post your prayer intentions in the comments, and if you don't want them actually "posted" in public, put "for your eyes only" in the first line. I will deliver them all on Thursday. (In 4 pt type.)


Anonymous said...

I experience alot of evil throughout my day on the job site.. i'm checking to see if somewhere i have a hidden magnet that seems to draw out the evil in others...oh talk about hidden... I got to experience the hidden Jesus at work yesterday.. Wow... I was unloading my truck and to my surprise a trucker walked up to me and handed me a hot dog, yep in bun and holding mustard... i was like.. "this is your lunch?" and he said he had an oven in his truck... Standing in inches of mud dirt and dust flying everyway.. i took off my greasy dirty rotten gloves and downed the most deliciouse hot dog i ever had... I wish I could have bottled that mysterious overwhelming act of kindness ...I pray i can continue to experience the hidden Jesus when evil so present...

Anonymous said...

I ask for prayer for myself and family for healing and increased financial blessings. I ask for prayer for my husband especially who is struggling with anger and worry over his job in which he has to renew his work license in his field of work. I ask that God help him to find his place in this world in which he has been called upon to help those in need of prayer and broken marriages. We are both called upon the Lord to do his work in this area and I am learning the bible and pray a lot along with going to church so that when I am able to do his work I can quote scripture as needed. I feel alone and only want him to join me in this quest to do Gods will but as I prayed I heard the Lord tell me to not push him and that he will come along in his own time. My husband grew up going to church all his life and has a religious background but I just cannot understand why he is so hesitant to work with me and he says I compare myself to him as if I am better. I by no means feel that way I tell him I only want him to have faith and that everything is in Gods timing not ours and to be patient. He gets easily frustrated when things do not go his way and he cannot understand why he has so much anger so I ask that God show him how to deal with his anger and frusration so that he can be happy again. I pray that no obstacles will be in his way of getting his license renewed and help is to get out of debt so we can have a home again. We are homeless and living w/ family but I have faith that God is working on a plan for us & we will be whole again. Lord you know our struggles so I leave all these things at the bottom of the cross and know it is all in your hands. I ask all these things in Jesus name amen!