Pope remembers Padre Pio's death with his three legacies: prayer, smallness and wisdom
To mark the 50th anniversary of Padre Pio's death and 100 years since he received the stigmata, Pope Francis visited the saint's birth place, Pietrelcina, Italy.
Greeted by the archbishop of Benevento and the mayor of Pietrelcina, Pope Francis' first stop was the St. Francis Chapel, which contains the “elm of the stigmata,” the tree where Padre Pio first received his stigmata.
He then encouraged the people drawing on the example of the saint, who endured a very difficult period in this town.
“In those terrible moments, Father Pio drew vital lymph from the continuous prayer and the trust he was able to place in the Lord. At the same time, considering his unconditional loyalty to the Church, you will bear witness to communion, because only communion - that is, always being united, in peace among us, the communion between us – edifies and constructs. A town that quarrels every day does not grow, does not build itself up; it scares people.”
Additionally, he spoke about the lack of jobs in the town and the migration of the youth. He asked them to pray to the Blessed Mother for work, while valuing the aged.
“The population ages, but this is a treasure, the elderly are a treasure! Please, do not marginalize the elderly. The elderly must not be marginalized, no. The elderly are wisdom. And may the elderly learn to speak with the young and the young learn to speak with the elderly.”
Then, the pope went to San Giovanni Rotondo, where Padre Pio spent his priestly ministry. Pope Francis first visited with the sick from the House of Relief of Suffering and John Paul II Hospital, who were prepared with open arms and selfie sticks.
The Community of the Capuchins met with the pope, showing him to St. Padre Pio's body and the Crucifix of the Stigmata. As a memorial, Francis left a stole for the Exposition.
Massive crowds waited for the pope to celebrate Mass on the parvis of the Church of St. Pio. To them, the pope directed a homily to them focusing on Padre Pio's three legacies: prayer, smallness and wisdom.
“St. Pio, 50 years after he went to heaven, helps us, because he wished to leave us the legacy of prayer. He recommended, 'Pray a lot, my children, pray always, never tiring.' The little are those who have a humble and open heart, poor and needy, who are aware of the need to pray, to entrust themselves and to let themselves be accompanied. The only wise and invincible weapon is charity inspired by faith, because it has the power to disarm the forces of evil. St. Pio fought evil throughout his life and fought it wisely.”
After a full morning of honoring the recent saint, Pope Francis returned to Rome with the memory of all the events of the day.