A few things to say today. First, thank you everyone who helped with the 175th Anniversary celebration last weekend, especially Betsy Barbieri and Cheryl Verde who organized all the efforts. From the Mass to the last song by the band all went well and there was fellowship and joy throughout the evening. And after the last song a great parish spirit was shown by those cleaning up as many helped out and got it done in about 45 minutes. Looking forward to 200.
And on a related note regarding the future of the parish, RCIA has started again. We meet Tuesday evenings at 7pm in the Centennial Room (under the church). Consider if you know someone who may be open to this invitation at this time, or come yourself some evening, we can all learn and grow in our faith.
Now for my normal column. Yesterday, Saturday September 24th, was the feast day of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, or Padre Pio to his fans. He was a Capuchin priest (a type of Franciscan) born in Pietrelcina Italy in 1887. He was known for his gifts as a spiritual advisor and confessor and was sought out by many, but he gained great notoriety also for the stigmata that he suffered beginning on September 20, 1918. The stigmata was wounds on his hands, feet, and side that were the same as the wounds of Christ that wept blood. He would keep these wounds for the next 50 years until his death in 1968.
From his ordination as a priest on he was recognized for his reverence and piety when celebrating Mass. An uncle of mine, who is also a Capuchin priest, served Mass for Padre Pio once while my uncle was studying in Rome. I guess that is one reason I have a little more awareness of him then some might, but his burial site is said to have eight million pilgrims visit each year (second of such places only to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in its number of annual visitors), so I guess I am not alone.
Numerous miraculous actions were attributed to him while living, and others continue since his death. He was canonized by John Paul II on June 16, 2002 when he stated about Padre Pio, “Prayer and charity – this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio’s teachings.” Not a bad model for all of us.