St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1201 N. Washington St., has announces the arrival of the Relics of St. Padre Pio for a time of public veneration Sept. 16, 2019. This is the only place this event will take place in the 24-county Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.

St. Padre Pio, an Italian priest who died on Sept. 23, 1968, was canonized a saint on June 16, 2002, by the late Pope and now Saint John Paul II.

A rite of reception of the relics will take place in the church at 9 a.m., and the public is invited to a time of public veneration until 5:30 p.m. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be sung at 3 p.m. A Mass in honor of St. Padre Pio will be celebrated at 6 p.m. that evening.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available throughout the day.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring religious articles of devotion, such as rosaries or holy cards, which may be touched to the reliquaries as a means of intercessory prayer. The relics will include St. Pio’s glove, scabs of his wounds, cotton-gauze with his blood stains, a lock of his hair, his mantle, and his handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died.

Born on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina in southern Italy, St. Padre Pio was ordained a priest in the Capuchin Franciscan order in 1910. On Sept. 20, 1918, the five wounds of Our Lord’s Passion appeared on his body, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Catholic Church.

Countless persons were attracted to his confessional and many more received his saintly counsel and spiritual guidance through written correspondence. He built a Home for the Relief of Suffering for the sick in 1956.

Visitors and pilgrims who attend the public veneration event Sept. 16 are asked to enter St. Patrick Church through the east doors that face Washington Street. An elevator is located on the northeast corner of the church building for those who need it, and the parking lot on the north side of the church will be reserved for handicapped parking.

The event is hosted by St. Patrick Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana; it is sponsored by the Saint Pio Foundation, which is based in New Rochelle, New York.

Books and religious items related to St. Padre Pio will be available for purchase in the narthex of the church, with proceeds going to the work of the Saint Pio Foundation.

In February 2016, during the Holy Year of Mercy, the body of St. Padre Pio was exhibited in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in accordance with Pope Francis' wishes. Following Pope Francis’ example and in honor of the 130th anniversary of Padre Pio’s birth and the 15th anniversary of his canonization, the Saint Pio Foundation organized the first official tour of the relics of Padre Pio in 2017. The tour visited 18 archdioceses and dioceses in the United States.

To continue their work, the Saint Pio Foundation sponsored an additional tour of the relics of Padre Pio in 2018 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Padre Pio’s passing. Not only were the relics made available for public veneration in about 40 archdioceses and dioceses across the United States, but the tour of the relics also reached into Mexico and Canada.

The majority of those attending the tour of the relics of Padre Pio would never be able to travel to San Giovanni Rotondo or Pietrelcina to visit the places where the Saint was born, lived, and died. For that reason, the Saint Pio Foundation sponsors a tour of the relics each year to give hundreds of thousands of the faithful an opportunity to have a “spiritual encounter” with St. Padre Pio, to pray to him, and to ask for his intercession.

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 relics or praying in the presence of them 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.

For more information on the public veneration and/or Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kokomo on Sept. 16, contact the parish office at 765-452-6021 or email beverlys@stpatrick-kokomo.org. To learn more about St. Padre Pio or the Saint Pio Foundation, visit www.saintpiofoundation.org.

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