The prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jaime Saraiva Martins, will celebrate a Mass on Thursday in San Giovanni Rotondo, after which the public will be able to venerate the exhumed remains of Padre Pio.
Some 750,000 people are already signed up to venerate the remains of San Pio de Pietrelcina, the Italian saint who bore the stigmata in his hands and feet for decades.
The Mass with Cardinal Martins will be celebrated at 11a.m. at the Shrine of Holy Mary of Grace, where Padre Pio was buried. Some 15,000 people and more than 100 journalists are expected to attend.
According to the SIR news agency, Archbishop Domenico d’Ambrosio of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, said the exhuming of the remains “was a gesture of prayer and praise to give thanks to God for giving us a sign of the mystery of the cross in his faithful servant.”
The canonical permission to exhume Padre Pio’s remain was due to the “historical responsibility to guarantee, through appropriate procedures, a prolonged conservation of the body of our saint in order allow future generations the chance to venerate and keep his relics.”