San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, Jan 29, 2010 / 00:49 am
Marking the first time the statue has ever left its sanctuary in Bethlehem, the original wooden sculpture of the "Little Child" Jesus was brought by its guardian, Fr. Jerzy Kraj, to the Sanctuary of St. Giovanni Rotondo on Thursday. During its visit, the statue will be taken to the children's cancer ward of a hospital founded by St. Padre Pio.
"With immense joy," announced the Capuchin Minor Friars among whom Saint Pio lived, "we will live here, in San Giovanni Rotondo, a 'great event of faith.' "
"We’ll live again the profound devotion of Padre Pio," they exclaimed in an official release for the arrival of the baby Jesus figure.
According to friars, "the idea of this initiative was born during a pilgrimage to Bethlehem guided last October by... (the) rector of the sanctuary, in memory of the profound devotion of Padre Pio of Pietralcina for that which he called 'the divine Infant.'"