Memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, religious and priest

Ezra 1:1-6; Luke 8:16-18

Today the Church celebrates a man who received an extraordinary gift. St. Pio, Padre Pio, was a Capuchin friar who entered the order at age 15. Sixteen years later, he was blessed with the stigmata, the wounds of Christ crucified. This gift made him famous. Great crowds would come to his Masses, and he often heard confessions for ten hours each day.

The stigmata and his other spiritual gifts—bilocation, prophecy, healing, etc.—were also a cross for Padre Pio. He did not enjoy his celebrity. He had many skeptics inside and outside the Church. The devil tried to torment him. He said many times that he only wanted to be "a poor friar who prays." But the light of his gifts could not be hidden, and that light has led many to Christ.

Padre Pio put his faith in God, the God who leads people back from exile and who calls us to be people of light, liberty, and love. He wrote:

Let the world turn topsy-turvy, everything is in darkness and Mount Sinai on fire, covered with lightning and thunder: God is with you. But if God lives in darkness and Mount Sinai is on fire, covered with lightning, thunder, and noise, won't we be safe near him?

St. Pio, pray for us!