Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saint Padre Pio

Today the Church celebrates the modern saint Padre Pio. (1887-1968)
He joined the Capuchin Franciscan monks and became a priest in the early 1900's.
He received the stigmata in his hands feet and side after seeing a vision of Jesus after Mass.
Padre Pio said Mass at 5 AM daily and spent the rest of the day hearing confessions and blessing the sick. He had the gift of discernment and often had insight in the confessional that was regarded as supernatural. His popularity grew to the point that busloads of people came to his Masses and confessional and items of his clothing were often torn off him as happened to St. Frances of Assisi.
The Church curtailed his public ministry for almost ten years until they were convinced of the authenticity of his stigmata. (I love the way our Church has the most stringent and cautious approach to apparitions, miracles etc. It may be seen as stern and controlling by outsiders, but I see it as the divine way Christ guards his children from getting into error)

In 1962 An archbishop, Karol Wojtyla, from Poland wrote him a letter asking him to pray for a friend's wife who had throat cancer. Two weeks later she was healed.

In 2002, Pope John Paul 2 through the authority of the Catholic Church canonized Padre Pio.
He said at his Mass:

"The life and mission of Padre Pio testify that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted with love, transform themselves into a privileged journey of holiness, which opens the person toward a greater good, known only to the Lord.”

I live about 17 miles from one of the largest shrines to Padre Pio in the US. It is nestled in the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania. It is a beautiful place to pray, worship and thank Jesus for the work he has done in His body, the Church, through the life of this Saint. When I go there, I ask Padre Pio to pray for me for some of my gravest concerns knowing that the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." You may argue and say that folks in heaven can't hear you but follow this logic: If the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repents, clearly the lines of communication are open between heaven and earth. Since Scripture teaches that we will judge angels, I don't think it's a stretch to believe that those in heaven can hear the prayers of those on earth. The Church has always taught this and the writings of the Fathers bear this out.
Just to make one point clear though: I don't worship him or prostrate myself before his statue or picture. I don't say "Oh praise you Padre Pio" for that would be breaking one of the first commandments! Instead, I honor this fellow christian who radically followed the call of Christ in his life and was obedient. He followed Jesus on His terms, not his own.
I know that my devotion to Padre Pio will only increase my love for Jesus more and more. That's the whole purpose of the Communion of Saints and I am thankful for such a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before me. What did I do before I had you guys? Oh, that's right, you were praying for me, I just didn't believe it!

St. Padre Pio, continue to pray for us so our hearts will burn with the love of Christ .

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Anonymous prodigal_daughter said...

The humility of this Ssint is another thing that amazes me. Despite Padre Pio's notoriety he would often say "I only want to be a poor friar who prays."

September 23, 2006 12:08 PM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

I love Padre Pio. My family actually has a direct connection to uncle met him during WWII when he was serving in Italy, and worked tirelesly for the rest of his life to canonize him. I still have many many prayer cards bearing photos my uncle took of him celebrating Mass in the United States on his one and only visit here. My uncle was able to attend St. Pio's beatification in St. Peter's Square in 1999 and died shortly he was (I pray) with the Saint when he was finally canonized in 2002. What a great blessing!

I also have a devotion to this saint, cultivated since I was a little girl, and just this week I was praying for a special intention with a vigil candle lit to him...and I actually felt his presence. I can't describe it, but there was a gentle presence as I prayed and a definite "sense" of Padre Pio.

I really need to post about this...

God bless!

September 23, 2006 7:20 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

That is awesome! To be connected to a saint!. I recently ran into someone whose grandfather or grand uncle was a saint as well. We are all called to live a life of exemplary service to Christ and perform heroic acts of self-lessness, so you never know.

September 24, 2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

It just goes to show that our Church is ALIVE, not dead, and the ongoing canonization of people even in our age is happening or pending... Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, "Man of the Beatitudes", Blessed Mother Therese...she was alive in our lifetime! I think I know a couple people en route to sainthood, may God will it be so! The idea that people can live in such sanctity in our culture, our current world just gives ongoing testimony to the greatness of God.

Myself..I have a long ways to go. As St. Augustine said, "Make me a Saint Lord...but not today!" (paraphrased).

September 24, 2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger Crafty P said...

Would you mind telling us where the shrine to Padre Pio is in PA? I live on the other side of the state but would love to go there sometime!

Thanks so much.

September 25, 2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

It is in Berks County off of Route 29 in the town of Barto. About 20 miles south west of Allentown PA.
It is on beautiful setting with a chapel, and a re-creation of his birth home and his cell where he lived. There are many relics, and items from his life as well as testimonies of folks who had prayers answered through his intercession. Currently they don't have priests there or the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament due to a diocesan issue, but it is still worth the trip!

September 26, 2006 8:10 AM  

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