Sometimes we have this need to pray where we would like to be in solitude. We can experience solitude taking a quiet walk in the forest; we can journey great distances like a pilgrim; we can even separate ourselves from a crowd and take a moment to be alone. Of course, there is the Church where we can place ourselves in front of the Blessed Sacrament and unite ourselves with Jesus, heart to heart.
This past summer I went to San Giovanni Rotondo to pray before St. Padre Pio’s relics. Even though the crypt had people sitting on the pews, kneeling before the St. Padre Pio’s remains, and standing in prayer, the crypt felt incredibly silent while packed with prayer. Silent prayer. The people arrived with petitions, thanksgiving, and acts of veneration. God has given us a Saint – a Saint in our midst to strengthen us and to guide us. St. Padre Pio does what every Saint is meant to do: lead us to greater sanctity by their intercession and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Like each of us, each saint has a story. The story of the Saint is shaped by two fundamental principles: Truth and Love. The prayers from the Vigil of St. Padre Pio (Sept 22) focus precisely on these qualities of the life of the Saint: to burn with love, to be driven by truth.
The story about the Relic of Saint Padre Pio.
When I presented the plan to invite keynote speakers for our monthly prayer meeting back in November 2018 to Fr. Gabriel de Chadarévian, O.P. (Fr. Gabriel) the Spiritual Director of St. Mary’s Padre Pio Prayer Group (PPPG), I learnt that Fr. David Bellusci, O.P. (Fr. David) works in Rome during Summertime. Fr. David’s name came up during the meeting as he would be one of the priests that I would invite to give presentation for PPPG.
After the initial meeting with Fr. Gabriel, I begin to send out the invitations, including an invite to Fr. David. He was quite responsive, and we then settled on a date for him to come to give a talk to our prayer group on May 4, 2019. When Fr. Gabriel mentioned the city of Rome, I immediately thought about the Relic of Padre Pio.
Let’s back up a little to the era when Fr. Pierre Leblond, O.P. (Fr. Pierre) was still the pastor of St. Mary’s and the Spiritual Director of our PPPG, we started the initiative to request for the first-class Relic of Saint Pio from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum). We discovered that there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled and upon approval, that the Relic will only be released in person and to be picked up from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin headquarters in Rome. The initiative later had to be put on hold due to the news of Fr. Pierre’s sabbatical.
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