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Rome Reports

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Two of Pope Francis' ideas about Padre Pio

Padre Pio is one of the most popular 20th-century saints, and not only in Italy.

During the Jubilee Year of Mercy of 2016, Pope Francis didn't miss the opportunity to present Padre Pio as an example of a good confessor.

The Pope had Padre Pio and another Capuchin, St. Leopold's remains brought to St. Peter's Basilica. There Pope Francis went to pray before them like countless other pilgrims.

He also celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

"Either you perform the office of Jesus, who forgives, giving His [whole] life in prayer, so many hours there [in the confessional], seated as were those two [St. Padre Pio and Leopold] there or you perform the office of the devil who condemns, who accuses."

Two years later, in 2018, Pope Francis put Padre Pio in the spotlight again. To commemorate 50 years since the saint's death, and 100 years since the Capuchin received the stigmata, Pope Francis traveled to the two southern Italian cities where Padre Pio lived.

There he highlighted another aspect of Padre Pio's life: continuous prayer. Yet another quality the saint never lost, even in times of great temptation.

"In those terrible moments, Padre Pio drew strength from continuous prayer and the trust he was able to place in the Lord."

St. Pio of Pietrelcina is well remembered for the painful stigmata he carried during his life, but Pope Francis' reflections on the saint tend to focus more on his interior spirituality.

Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio in 2002.

Javier Romero