Five first-class relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, popularly known as St. Padre Pio, were displayed on a table at St. Bede, Williamsburg, Friday, Oct. 6 for veneration. Over 500 people attended the 9 a.m. opening Mass, and throughout the day, hundreds more stood in line for hours for the chance to venerate them personally and to create third-class relics of their own.
The relics included a lock of St. Pio’s hair, cotton gauze with St. Pio’s bloodstains, his handkerchief, a piece of his mantle and blood from his stigmata. Many visitors made third-class relics by touching rosaries or statues to the first- and second-class relics on display.
A Capuchin friar and mystic, St. Pio was known to perform miracles, including instances of healing, which made him famous. But when he was canonized in 2002 by Pope St. John Paul II, it was his compassion and humility that the pontiff highlighted in his homily.
“St. John Paul II stressed not the supernatural gifts, but the love and the charity that were a part of Padre Pio’s life,” said Father Eric Ayers, St. Bede, Williamsburg. “He was known to spend hours in prayer and hours in the confessional helping others. He had such a fruitful spirit because of his deep relationship with Christ.”
The event is scheduled to end at 7 p.m.
Editor’s note: Look for full coverage of the event in the Oct. 16 issue of The Catholic Virginian.