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Relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina to visit the Diocese of Cleveland
March 4, 2018 - March 5, 2018
Touring relics to be on view at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina – better known as Padre Pio – will be on display at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, on Sunday, March 4, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., and on Monday, March 5 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Viewing of the relics will be paused during regular Mass times at the Cathedral on Monday at 7:15 a.m. and at noon. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is located at East Ninth Street and Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. Admission to the viewing queue will be ended 30 minutes prior to the closing of the exhibit on both Sunday and Monday.
The relics of St. Pio available for public veneration will be the following: St. Pio’s glove; St. Pio’s crusts of the wounds from his stigmata; Cotton-gauze with St. Pio’s blood stains; A lock of St. Pio’s hair; St. Pio’s mantle and St. Pio’s handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died.
Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries will celebrate a Mass in honor of St. Pio at noon on Monday, March 5 at the cathedral.
The Saint Pio Foundation, which is sponsoring the tour on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his passing, will sell books and items related to Padre Pio in the entryway of the cathedral.
St. Pio was born on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, and baptized Francesco Forgione. He first expressed his desire for priesthood at age 10. In order to pay for the preparatory education, his father, Grazio Forgione, emigrated to the United States in 1899 and he worked here for several years.
The future saint entered the Capuchin order at age 15, taking the name Pio. He was ordained a priest in 1910 at the age of 23. During his lifetime, Padre Pio was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge, who bore the stigmata for fifty years.
Stigmata is the term the Catholic Church uses to speak about the wounds an individual receives that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. They can appear on the forehead, hands, wrists and feet.
Padre Pio’s stigmata emerged during World War I, after Pope Benedict XV asked Christians to pray for an end to the conflict. Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ pierced his side. A few weeks later, on Sept. 20, 1918, Jesus again appeared to him, and he received the full stigmata. It remained with him until his death on Sept. 23, 1968. Pope John Paul II canonized him St. Pio of Pietrelcina in 2002. This year marks the 50th anniversary of St. Pio’s death.