NEW YORK — In commemoration of the 130th anniversary of Padre Pio’s birth and the 15th anniversary of his canonization, a new national tour of his relics arrived at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York this past weekend.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, officially welcomed the relics at a Sunday mass at the cathedral.
“Trust, Pray, Do not worry, Do not be afraid. That was the constant mantra of Padre Pio,” he said.
“Those words of Padre Pio, are they not almost a summary of the constant calm assurances of Jesus that we hear in the Gospel?” Dolan asked.
The cardinal spoke of his niece Shannon who was diagnosed with bone cancer at age eight. When she asked her oncologist if she would die from the disease, he responded that “whether we live or whether we die, we belong to God.”
Dolan said that the doctor’s wisdom was a reflection of the words of St. Paul and Padre Pio’s example — and he couldn’t help but think the doctor had been inspired by both.
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina is one of the Catholic Church’s most popular saints of the last century.
Born in southern Italy, Pio entered a Capuchin friary at age fifteen. He is perhaps best known for receiving the stigmata of the wounds of Christ while hearing confessions, which sparked hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to travel from around the world to seek him out for spiritual direction.
Following his death in 1968 at the age of 81, there were immediate efforts to push for his canonization. He was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and made a saint in 2002.
In an effort to hide the stigmata on his hands, Padre Pio wore gloves. Those gloves, along with his robe and other items, were on display at St. Patrick’s Cathedral where for two full days, lines stretched around the block with modern day pilgrims waiting several hours to venerate the saint’s relics.
The exhibit now continues on to Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta, and other locations over the next two months.