June 22, 2009.
Benedict XVI visited the tomb of one of the most known saints of the 20th century, Padre Pio.
The pope prayed before the saint’s remains and before the relic of his heart.
He also visited cell number one of this capuchin friar convent, where the saint died in 1968.
It happened during his one day visit to San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio’s hometown. Benedict celebrated Mass there for 50,000 people.
The pope said Padre Pio understood perfectly the suffering of man because he was a person of profound faith. That’s why he warned the devout and the saint’s followers that they will not live authentic charity if they were not people of intense prayer.
Padre Pio had to fight, above all, not against territorial enemies, but against the spirit of evil. The biggest tempests that threatened him were assaults from the devil, and he defended against these with the “armor of God” and the “shield of faith.”
After the Mass, during the Angelus, the pope asked the international community to not forget about refugees on the occasion of World Refugee Day.
So many people seek refuge in other places, fleeing situations of war, persecution and calamity. Although it’s difficult, it’s a duty to tend to them.
Here in this place where everything speaks of the life of Padre Pio, the pope described the saint as a model for the Year for Priests. An example of prayer, closeness to people and generosity, since he spent the greater part of his day in the confessional with whoever came through his convent.