Relics of St Padre Pio, a Capuchin priest who bore the stigmata of Jesus, will be on public display in several US dioceses and archdioceses in May and again in the autumn.
The Saint Pio Foundation announced that the tour corresponds with the 130th anniversary of the Italian-born saint’s birth.
The tour will include 12 locations nationwide starting on May 6-8 at the Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.
Hours that each site will be open for veneration and other events related to the tour were to be announced by each diocese.
Additional stops include:
— May 9 at St Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh.
— May 10-11 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver.
— May 13 at Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln, Nebraska.
— May 18-19 at St Andrew Church, Pasadena, California.
— May 20-21 at St Ann Church, Arlington, Virginia.
— Sept 17-18 at St Patrick Cathedral, New York.
— Sept 20 at Cathedral of St Joseph the Workman, La Crosse, Wisconsin.
— Sept. 20 at Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, Milwaukee.
— Sept. 22-23 at Basilica of St John the Evangelist, Stamford, Connecticut.
— Sept. 24 at St Theresa Church, Trumbull, Connecticut.
— Sept. 29 at Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, Saginaw, Michigan.
Born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, to a poor family near Italy’s Adriatic coast, he entered the local Capuchin novitiate at the age of 15. He was ordained a priest in 1910 and almost immediately began informing his superiors that he was experiencing spiritual and physical signs, along with a number of health problems.
Beginning in 1918, at the age of 30, the priest reported bleeding from his hands, feet and side – the stigmata wounds of Christ’s crucifixion. The wounds were said to have lasted 50 years, until his death.
Biographers reported that St Padre Pio was uneasy about such phenomena, declaring: “I only want to be a friar who prays.” St Padre Pio’s alleged signs and special powers soon helped attract massive crowds to his southern Italian monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo. His Capuchin superiors tried to limit his public appearances and planned to transfer the priest, but they backed down after popular outcry.
With donations, St Padre Pio opened a small hospital next to the monastery in 1925, the forerunner to a much larger health complex he had built in the 1950s. After years of ministering to long lines of penitents and after suffering several more bouts with illness, St Padre Pio died in 1968.
St Padre Pio was canonised by St John Paul II in 2002.