As Pope Benedict XVI prepared to visit San Giovanni Rotondo this past weekend to pray at the tomb of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, the Capuchin Franciscan postulator, Father Florio Tessari, called Padre Pio is “today’s Cure of Ars,” because both lived with the Eucharist at the center of their lives and gave tirelessly of themselves in the confessional.
In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Father Tessari said that as the Year of Priests begins, he finds the similarities between St. John Vianney and Padre Pio to be numerous.
“The Holy Cure of Ars did the same thing as Padre Pio: he celebrated Mass and made himself available to administer the sacrament of Reconciliation. Those who came to San Giovanni Rotondo sought out Padre Pio just like those who sought out the Cure of Ars. They went to attend Mass and to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation,” he noted.
Padre Pio was “a friar, a religious priest who profoundly observed the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience) in his life. He suffered difficulties in silence like an authentic Cyrenean and at the same time was crucified without a cross,” Father Tessari continued.
He went on to point to two fundamental elements that led to Padre Pio’s canonization: “Faith to the bitter end and obedience also to the bitter end, despite the difficulties he encountered in his life. Living in simplicity and in total union with Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the Eucharist was also important.”
Father Tessari said Padre Pio’s message continues to resonate with the men and women of today. “Padre Pio gives humanity a concrete answer to suffering through prayer groups and the Home for the alleviation of suffering. Padre Pio embodies the man for God and the man in service to his fellow man.”