St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, peasant farmers, in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. From his childhood, it was evident that he was a special child of God. Francesco was very devout even as a child, and at an early age felt drawn to the priesthood. He became a Capuchin novice at the age of sixteen and received the habit in 1902. Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 after seven years of study and became known as Padre Pio.
On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio was kneeling in front of a large crucifix when he received the visible marks of the crucifixion, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of Church. The doctor who examined Padre Pio could not find any natural cause for the wounds. Upon his death in 1968, the wounds were no longer visible. In fact, there was no scaring and the skin was completely renewed. He had predicted 50 years prior that upon his death the wounds would heal. The wounds of the stigmata were not the only mystical phenomenon experienced by Padre Pio.
The blood from the stigmata had an odor described by many as similar to that of perfume or flowers, and the gift of bilocation was attributed to him. Padre Pio had the ability to read the hearts of the penitents who flocked to him for confession which he heard for ten or twelve hours per day. Padre Pio used the confessional to bring both sinners and devout souls closer to God; he would know just the right word of counsel or encouragement that was needed. Even before his death, people spoke to Padre Pio about his possible canonization. He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. His funeral was attended by about 100,000 people.
On June 16, 2002, over 500,000 Padre Pio devotees gathered in Rome to witness Pope John Paul II proclaim Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. The Padre Pio Foundation and many benefactors traveled to Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Pietrelcina, Piana Romana and many other holy places to celebrate Padre Pio's Canonization.
I just found out that the Shrine in Libis is a copy of the Monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo where Padre Pio spent most his life and where he died.
Amidst the heavy downpour, devotees keep flocking the Shrine.
Prayer for Padre Pio's Intercession
Gracious God, You generously blessed Your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son, and as a stirring inspiration to many people of Your infinite mercy, forgiveness, and love.
In the confessional, Padre Pio labored endlessly for the salvation of souls. Through his prayerful intercession, many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease.
Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people's hearts. From the blood of his wounds came a perfumed fragrance, a special sign of Your Holy Presence. With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass, inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Through the intercession of Padre Pio, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition). Help me to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion, so that I, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord, and one day rejoice in the Kingdom, where You live and reign forever and ever.
We are one in praying for a miracle of healing, of forgiveness and of love through the powerful intercession of Padre Pio. St. Pio, pray for us!
God, Giver of all good gifts, you generously endowed your servant, Pio of Pietreicina, with the gifts of the Spirit, signing his body as living witness to the saving Passion and Death of your Son. As many looked upon this reflection of your Crucified Son, Jesus, they experienced anew your saving mercy. As through his ministry, Pio reconciled penitents and invited them to taste your sweetness in the Holy Eucharist, so enable us through his intercession, to follow his example in prayer and penance so that we too may follow our Risen Lord and rejoice in His Kingdom where He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever...Amen.