The Pontiff has arrived as a pilgrim to the lands of the Holy Confessor and has placed in his crypt a meaningful and symbolic object
On Saturday, March 17, Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Pius, as part of his pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo, the land of the Saint in the centenary of the apparitions of the permanent stigmas and on the 50th anniversary of his death.
The Pope has placed a stole on top of the glass crypt as a symbol of confession, there he has prayed before the body of the Capuchin friar, and in a gesture to remember the memory of Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968.
Pope Bergoglio has expressed on more than one occasion his respect and admiration for Padre Pio. Indeed, at the end of the Jubilee Year (2015/2016), Francisco wanted to honor the arrival of Saint Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo a hundred years ago.
The pope had also sent Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, to preside on July 28, 2017, the closing ceremony of the Jubilee Year in honor of the centenary of the arrival of Saint Padre Pío to that place, pilgrimage destination of thousands of people from all over the world.
On February 5, 2016, the remains of the famous capuchin had arrived at the Vatican to be presented to the veneration of the faithful for almost a week as part of the Jubilee of Mercy.
Thus, on March 17, 2018, Pope Francis presented himself as a pilgrim before the final resting place of the friar.
During the Holy Year, Francis highlighted Padre Pio as an example of a priest confessor and a full-time “servant of mercy”, sometimes practicing tiredness “the apostolate of listening” and prayer. From there he proposed to the Church to listen more until they extinguish the easy judgments.
Saint Pio was a Capuchin friar who dedicated himself to the salvation of souls. Born in 1887, he joined the Capuchin Order at age 15 before being ordained a priest in 1910 and was sent on July 28, 1916 to the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he remained until his death.
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In 1918, after a mass, he received the stigmata of Christ. Wounds that he carried in his hands, feet and chest and accompanied him for more than 50 years, which would attract a multitude of journalists and doctors. But, especially it has brought many faithful.