Devotees flock by the thousands to view Padre Pio's body
Devotees flock by the thousands to view Padre Pio's body
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Thousands of devotees of the Italian mystic St. Padre Pio gathered at his shrine to see his exhumed body, which is on display for the first time since his death nearly 40 years ago.

More than one million people are expected to view his corpse, which is displayed in a transparent casket, between now and September 2009, according to Agence France Presse.

On Thursday more than 15,000 people viewed the saint’s body and also attended a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints.

Cardinal Martins said in his homily, “What we see is a dead body, no longer animated by the breath of God. But Padre Pio is not simply a corpse: he lives on in communion with Jesus resurrected.”  The cardinal also called Padre Pio a “saint of the people.”

The Italian state broadcaster RAI broadcast the events live across the country.  According to AFP, Consilia De Martino, who was cured from a ruptured lymph duct through the Padre Pio’s intercession, was present.  Her recovery was considered one of the miracles necessary for the saint’s canonization.

Padre Pio, a Capuchin friar, was credited by his fellow friars with more than 1,000 miraculous cures and interventions.  Church authorities were skeptical of the reputed miracle worker until his death in 1968.  He was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

In 1910 St. Pio began to bear the stigmata, the wounds that Jesus received from his crucifixion.

Investigators examining his cause for sainthood considered and dismissed allegations that Padre Pio acquired carbolic acid from a pharmacist that could have been used to simulate the stigmata.  A book published last year repeated the allegations.

The saint’s body was exhumed in March and was reportedly in “surprisingly good condition.”  His beard, nails, knees, and hands were clearly visible.

Biochemists and forensic scientists have worked to make the body fit for display.  His displayed body wore a lifelike silicon mask of his face and was mainly hidden under his monk’s habit.  The forensic scientists, addressing a press conference, denied that the face was badly decomposed.  They said the mask was used to protect the sensibilities of visitors.

Local Bishop Umberto Domenico D’Ambrosio told the press conference that when the tomb was opened there was no unpleasant smell.  “When I asked the doctors for an explanation they told me it was up to me to provide an answer, not them," he said.

In 2009 the body will be returned to the crypt of Santa Maria delle Grazie church in San Giovanni Rotondo, next to the friary where Padre Pio lived for most of his life.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30