.- On the eve of Pope Benedict XVIâs visit to the tomb of Padre Pio, Brother Francesco Dileo, Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, where the Pope will celebrate Mass this Sunday, said his visit will encourage the faithful to imitate the saint from Pietrelcina and thus follow Christ with more devotion.
In an interview with LâOsservatore Romano, the rector noted how âPadre Pio once said, âI will make more noise dead than alive.â And in fact, the number of pilgrims is much higher compared to the end of 1968,â with some seven million visiting the shrine annually.
Speaking about the number of faithful who come to San Giovanni Rotondo to pray to the saint for a miracle, Brother Dileo said he receives an enormous amount of letters from people praying for Padre Pioâs intercession. The letters are directly addressed to Padre Pio, âas if he were still alive, to ask for some physical or spiritual healing,â the brother said.
âI am firmly convinced that the grace of God that touches the hearts of men and makes the faith blossom and be reborn continues to work in this place, even after the death of Padre Pio,â he said. âI think it is difficult to encounter the life of this saint without sensing a desire to renounce sin and change oneâs conduct.â
Referring to Pope Benedict XVIâs visit this coming Sunday, Brother Dileo said, âThe picture of Benedict XVI in prayer in front of the remains of our beloved brother saint will certainly be more eloquent than many words.â