September 23, 2010
Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, into a simple peasant family. At the age of 15 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Friars, and was ordained a priest in 1910. In September, 1916 he was assigned to the Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo in central Italy, where he lived for the rest of his life.
After celebrating morning Mass on September 20, 1918, during his prayers of thanksgiving before the Crucifix, Padre Pio received the “Stigmata.” His hands, feet and side were pierced with the nail marks and the lance wound of the Crucified Christ. Doctors estimated that for the next 50 years he lost a cup of
blood every day. His five wounds were deep, bleeding and painful, but completely free of inflammation and swelling.
Padre Pio died on 23 September 1968 and was canonized by The Servant of God, John Paul II, on 16 June 2002.
By the witness of his daily life as a Franciscan Friar, he offered to the Universal Church and to each one of us important lessons in the virtues of humility, obedience, simplicity and the redemptive value of suffering.
In addition to these, this holy priest taught us, by his personal example, to love and to cherish Holy Mass. Every morning for over 50 years he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice worthily, attentively, reverently and devoutly.
And who does not know of the 12 or 15 hours every day spend hearing confession?
May the intercession and example of Padre Pio deepen our love and appreciation for the Mass and may he inspire us to approach the Sacrament of Penance frequently so that we may experience personally the love and mercy of Christ.