"We're grateful that the Saint Pio Foundation has recognized our efforts to serve homeless veterans," Dr. Adam M. Robinson, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System said March 24.
The foundation's other supported projects include the Home for the Relief of Suffering and Padre Pio's Shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy; the Archdiocese for Military Services; and the Path to Peace Foundation, which complements the work of the Holy See's mission to the United Nations.
Lamonarca has a special devotion to Padre Pio, a devotion which strengthened when he immigrated to America.
"He has touched so many lives and converted many people," he said. "He touched my life through his motto 'pray, hope and don't worry'."
He said he hopes that the foundation's support will help veterans learn more about Padre Pio's life and encourage them "to pray to Padre Pio daily, to ask Padre Pio to help them carry on through their pain and their suffering and to hope in Jesus, with the intercession of Padre Pio."
"Padre Pio has been known internationally. I like to say he's not just a saint that belongs to the Catholic Church. He belongs to any kind of people of faith."
The foundation will hold its second annual award ceremony on May 27 at the Naval Heritage Center in Washington, D.C. Honorees include veterans' advocates like actor Gary Sinise and Jim Nicholson, former U.S. Secretary for Veterans Affairs and past U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Guests at the dinner include Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the apostolic nuncio of the Holy See heading the permanent observer mission to the United Nations and to the Organization of American States.
The foundation's website is www.SaintPioFoundation.org.