At this early, the faithful are already awaiting the visit of the heart relic of the famed stigmatist, Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, to the Philippines. Padre Pio is the patron saint of confessors, adolescents, and civil defense volunteers. The San Giovanni Rotondo in Foggia, Italy, is the home of the heart relic.
The visit, which aims “to draw the faithful to Christ,” is scheduled from October 6 to 26, 2018.
Joselin “Jojo” Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of Padre Pio in Sto. Domingo, Batangas, said the Philippines is the fourth country to host the relic after the United States, which it visited for 10 days; Paraguay, eight days; and Argentina, five days.
Bishop Ben Famadico, chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, added, “Amid pain, Christ was with him [Padre Pio]. He serves a reminder that Christ never left us.”
Gonda urges Filipinos who are in “near hopelessness” because of political conflicts and economic difficulties to use the historic visit to their advantage by venerating before St. Padre Pio and asking for “recovery” of the country.
“This year will mark two milestones in St. Padre Pio’s life. First on September 20, we will commemorate the centennial of Padre Pio’s receiving the stigmata or the five wounds of Jesus. Second, we will celebrate his golden death anniversary on September 23,” Gonda added.
Below is the schedule of the visit:
October 6 to 7: National Shrine of Padre Pio
October 8 to 10: open for veneration at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.
October 11 to 13: Cebu Cathedral
October 14 to 16: Davao Cathedral
October 17, Lipa Cathedral, Batangas, before returning to the National Shrine of Padre Pio on October 18 where it will stay until October 26.
The historic visit was made possible through the initiative of the Lipa archdiocese, led by Archbishop Gilbert Garcera and Gonda.—IDGC
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