23 September: Feast of Saint Padre Pio. This feast is in honor of Italian Franciscan priest St. Pio of Petrelcina, better known as “Padre Pio” and renowned for his suffering, humility and miracles. Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione in 1887 as one of seven children. His growing up years were marked by daily Mass, family rosary, and acts of penance. He decided at a young age to dedicate his life to God. In 1903, he put on the Franciscan habit as a Capuchin Friar. Capuchin priests seek extreme poverty, strictness, and simplicity. He took the name Pio, a modern Italian form of “Pius,” in honor of Pope St. Pius V. He was ordained a priest in 1910. Padre Pio suffered through health problems and serious illness. He experienced religious ecstasy and attacks from the devil (friars would report strange noises from his cell). In 1918, Padre Pio first received the painful Stigmata – the five wounds of Christ’s passion. This made him the first stigmatized priest in Church history. During World War I, Padre Pio served in the military and offered his own personal suffering for an end to war. Once again, he received the Stigmata wounds. They would remain with him for 50 years. Countless doctors looked at his wounds with no explanation. His wounds bled painfully every day with no drop in blood pressure. Against his wishes, Padre Pio’s reputation for holiness and miracles began to attract crowds. Countless people flocked to his confessional and many more received his saintly counsel and spiritual guidance through correspondence. His life was marked by long hours of fervent prayer and patient suffering. Padre Pio died in 1968, and was declared a saint in 2002.
Ideas for celebrating this feast day at home:
- Watch this reflection with Deacon Gus
- Today’s menu should include Italian foods in honor of this Italian born saint (cappuccino, pasta, risotto, pizza, etc). For today’s feast day treat, make easy “Stigmata rice krispy treats”: use a hand shaped cookie cutter (or your own hand as a guide!) to cut out rice krispy treats. Use a dab of red icing in the center of the hand treats to look like a Stigmata.
- St. Padre Pio loved to hear confessions: his feast day is a great reminder for us! Put it on your calendar and make a commitment to go to confession soon.
- Watch a free video on FORMED about Padre Pio
- Family prayer time: St. Padre Pio said that “Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” Before bedtime, kneel together as a family and take turns praying. Try to make this a part of your daily routine. Padre Pio’s own family was known for praying a family rosary – try to add this to your family life, too! Pray virtual rosaries with your parish family (click here for the link to pray at 7pm on Su, Mo, Tu, Thu, Fr). This is a beautiful way for your children to see prayer modeled by their parents and fellow parishioners.