Mission statement: To enhance the
awareness of the Blessed Holy Trinity through evangelization and to deepen our union with our Triune
St Padre Pio, the mystic monk with wounds of
By Fr Paul Melwyn D’Souza
A Catholic priest died on September 23, 1968, at the age of eighty-one. When
he died in his monastery in southern Italy, large numbers of people from every
corner of the world came to the Church of Our Lady of Grace to pay him tribute
and to request him to pray for them. In fifty-two years, this priest had never
left his monastery but had touched millions of people. He had never travelled
far from the region of his birth. The farthest that he went to in his lifetime
was to Rome, in May 1917. Prior to dying, he sighed aloud at his last breath,
“Gesu, Maria, Gesu, Maria”. He was a mystic, a miracle worker or just a
curiosity to some, but to the masses, he was a pious and holy priest who could
help them to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness and brought about a
spiritual and moral transformation in them.
Who is this priest?
Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. He is one of the greatest saints of all time
in the Catholic Church and a remarkable Capuchin. A worthy follower of St
Francis of Assisi, Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887, at Pietrelcina , in
southern Italy, the son of Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppe De Nunzio.
Baptized the day after his birth, he was christened
Francesco, a presage of his Franciscan vocation, which was to be initiated on
the occasion of a visit from a Capuchin monk begging food for the convent. In
1903, he entered the novitiate, an initial stage of Capuchin formation at the
age of 16.Above the door of the cloister, as a welcome, he read the sign: “Do
penance or perish”. After he was ordained a priest on 10 August 1910 at
Benevento, he stayed at home with his family until 1916 due to health reasons.
In September of that year, he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo
and remained there until his death in 1968.
Padre Pio bore wounds of Christ for 50 years
In the history of the Catholic Church, there were saints who have been known
for healing; there were saints who could read souls; there were saints who were
known for levitation; there were saints who bore the stigmata, or were seen in
apparition, or who had the odor of sanctity; there were saints who could
understand languages they did not know and there were saints who had the gift
of bilocation that is physically to be in two places at the same time. Padre
Pio had a fine combination of all these extraordinary gifts and charismas.
He was the first priest to bear the stigmata – the
holy wounds of Christ – just like St Francis of Assisi, who was a deacon and
was also the first person to bear the wounds of Christ’s passion. While St.
Francis of Assisi bore the wounds of Christ just for two years, Padre Pio would
bear the wounds for fifty years and they mysteriously vanished a few minutes
after his death. Like the Apostle Paul, Padre Pio placed at the center of his
life and apostolic work the Cross of Jesus as his strength, his wisdom and his
glory. Being inflamed by love for Jesus Christ, he became like Him in the
sacrifice of himself for the salvation of the world. In his following and
imitation of the Crucified Christ, he was so generous and perfect that he could
have said: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives in me”. (Gal 2:20). He accepted the wounds of Christ as a gift
from God and preferred to suffer the pains of Christ’s passion without the
Man of prayer and suffering
Being filled with the love of God and neighbour, Padre Pio’s entire life was
marked by the sacramental reconciliation of penitents and the celebration of
the Eucharist. The pinnacle of his apostolic activity was the celebration of
Holy Mass. The faithful who took part in these Masses witnessed the depth and
fullness of his spirituality. In 1971, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the Superiors
of the Capuchin order, said of Padre Pio, “what fame he had. How many followers
from the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because
he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard
confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the
stigmata of our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.” No doubt,
Padre Pio will be remembered in history as “a great apostle of the
confessional”. Similar to St. John Mary Vianney, he spent over twelve hours a
day in the confessional box, to hear confessions.
Rules of spiritual growth
He sincerely thought of himself as useless, unworthy of God’s gifts, full of
weakness and infirmity, and at the same time blessed with divine favours.
Amidst so much admiration all around him, he would say: “I only want to be a
poor friar who prays.” He followed five rules of spiritual growth: weekly
confession, daily communion, spiritual reading, meditation and examination of
conscience. In explaining his spiritual growth rules, Padre Pio compared a
dusting room, used or unused on a weekly basis, to weekly confession.
Confession was for him a kind of ‘soul’s bath’. His motto, “pray, hope and
don’t worry” is the synopsis of his application of theology into daily life. A
Christian should recognize God in everything and offer everything to Him saying
“Thy will be done”. In addition, all should aspire to heaven and put their
trust in Him and not worry about what one is doing, so long as it is done with
a desire to please God. On the social charity level, he committed himself to
relieving the pain and suffering of many families, chiefly through the
foundation of the ‘House for the Relief of Suffering’. He was canonized as a
saint in 2002 by Pope John Paul II and remains one of the most popular saints.
His feast is celebrated on the 23rd of September.
Around the world, hundreds of thousands of people invoke the name of the
Padre Pio, patron saint of prayer, hope and the easing of worries. The shrine
of Padre Pio at St Anne’s Friary, Bejai in Mangaluru attracts hundreds of
devotees. Each Wednesday, there is a devotion and novena to Padre Pio, which is
a powerful and moving way to come closer to Jesus Christ. Padre Pio, pray for
If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer?
If you never had to pray, How would you know that I
am a Deliverer?
If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an
If you never felt sadness, How would you know that I am a
If you never made a mistake, How would you know that I am a
If you knew all, How would you know that I will
answer your questions?
If you never were in trouble, How would you know that I will come to your
If you never were broken, Then how would you know that I can make you
If you never had a problem,How would you know that I can solve
If you never had any suffering, Then how would you know what I went
If you never went through the fire, Then how would you become
If I gave you all things, How would you appreciate them?
If I never corrected you, How would you know that I love you?
If you had all power, Then how would you learn to depend on me?
If your life was perfect, Then what would you need me for?
Please forward this mail of Jesus to as many friends as you can. GOD is
God our Father, walk through my
house and take away all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my
family in Jesus name, Amen.
THE GOD WHO CHANGES HIS
MIND Fr Joby Kachappilly VC Director Divine Retreat Ashram,
Charitable deeds and proclamations of the Word are
powerful enough to change the mind of God. In spite of constant prayers and sacrifices if prayer
doesn't bear fruit, we tend to feel disappointed. One may even feel displeasure towards God
when prayers are not answered at all. Some may stop praying altogether and
lose faith in God. The distorted image one has about God as well as the shallowness of
one's God experience are the reasons for this unfortunate situation. In the Bible we
see our God as a God who changes His mind on seeing the tearful prayers of the
people and blesses them. The best example for this is the life of King Hezekiah. To
Hezekiah who became sick and was at the point of death, the prophet Isaiah said, “Thus
says the Lord: set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.”
(2Kings 20:1). But Hezekiah was not disappointed though the message was from a famous prophet
of God. He encountered that agony with intense prayer. Hezekiah turned his face
to the wall and prayed to the Lord. “Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have
walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is
good in your sight.” Then Hezekiah wept bitterly. (2 Kings 20:3). That prayer of
Hezekiah really trapped God. 'Remember Lord the good I have done in your sight.' This
prayer prompted God to change his mind. Immediately God spoke to Hezekiah
through Isaiah, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed I will heal
you, I will add fifteen years to your life.” (2 Kings 20:5). Besides increasing the number
of years of his life God healed him completely and blessed him too. The good deeds that
we do in our lives are counted as a deposit of blessings in God's
ON THE PATH OF CHARITY:
This gives us a clear message that good deeds that we
do will cause signs and miracles in our lives. Charitable deeds and proclamations of the
Word are powerful enough to change the mind of God. On using our health, wealth and
influence for the benefit of the poor, God will be willing to change his mind before
your prayer. The painful moments that are spent for doing good in the name of God
will surely bring forth showers of blessings from heaven. God will save such
people and their families. This is very obvious in Jesus' utterances with regard to the
last judgment. “Come you that are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you, from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was
thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in
prison and you visited me.” (Mat 25:34-36). What is required is taking a decision to
purify our lives by doing good to others.
TEARS AND PATIENT WAITING:
God surrenders himself before the tears of his
children. The answer God gives to the prayer of Hezekiah is noteworthy. "I have heard your
prayer, I have seen your tears.” (2 Kings 20:5). God appears to Hagar who runs away
weeping to the desert unable to bear the persecution of Sara, Abraham's wife. 'The Lord
has given heed to your affliction." (Gen 16:11). Bear in mind that the
affliction and tears in our lives are mediums for a God experience. The realization that God is
touched by the tearful prayers of man will help us share our sorrows with God.
After his resurrection, jesus appears to Mary Magdalene who was weeping. He asked,
“Woman, why are you crying?” (John : 20). Jesus not only wipes the tears of
the one who cries, but he cries with them too. The Gospel records that Jesus wept with
the family members who were weeping in distress over the death of Lazar. (Jn 11:34).
God is not moved by the tears of despair and guilt ; he is willing to change his mind
before prayers of hope as well as tears that are shed in faith. If King Hezekiah cried
facing the wall, today we have to cry facing the altar. During each sacrifice at the altar God
comes down. 'So you have pain now'. (Jn 16:22). Remember, it takes some time for the
tears to reach God. St. Monica who waited tearfully for the conversion of her son St.
Augustine, stands as a great example.
IN ORDER TO ATTAIN GOD'S PROMISE :
The Bible clearly records that God fulfilled his
promise to heal King Hezekiah and increase his life. God even goes to the extent of
changing His own decisions for man. This change of mind depends on the depth of the
father-son relationship. In order to receive the promise of God, one needs to establish an
intimate relationship with God. Spend time with the Father during the precious moments of
prayer. This requires a sort of spiritual growth akin to the new born who is sustained
by drinking the milk of the mother as well as experiencing her warmth. The book of
Samuel describes a beautiful scene in which the childless Hanna pours out all her
afflictions before the Lord. To Eli the priest she said, “I have been pouring out my soul
before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been
speaking out of my anxiety and vexation all this time.” (1 Sam 1:15-16). Then Eli
answered, “Go in peace, the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” God gave
her a great gift- an anointed son, Samuel. Whatever we ask with purity and faithfulness God will
surely grant. This is made clear through the parable of the widow and the judge. Jesus
said, “If the unjust judge has granted the widow justice just because she troubled him
continuously, will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and
night? Will he delay long in helping them?” (Lk. 18:1-8). Let us lead our lives with
prayers and sacrifices in such a way that God will change his mind before our prayers and
fulfill his promises. KEEP IN MIND: Many are haunted by guilt feelings and memories of their
past sins. One is troubled over these things because one does not know the real
attitude of God . God hates sin but loves the sinner. God never keeps a record of sins
once it is frankly revealed at the confessional. "I will not remember your sins." (Isaiah
43:26). However grave the sin may be, God has a kind heart to save and help such a
person. God who decided to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where people
indulged in unchaste and unnatural relationships, later changed His mind when
Abraham implored to God to show mercy towards them and spare them. God said that he
would show mercy towards them if there were enough good people as promised
by Abraham. (Gen 18:16- 23). What was the factor that prompted God to change His
mind before the request of Abraham? The answer to this is given in the Scriptures
itself. "Abraham continued to stand before God." (Gen 18:22). God will change his mind
for the people who live in his presence and fulfill his will. He will turn situations
and persons in their favour. Another example of this is the story in which Jesus saves
a family from humiliation during the wedding at Cana when the wine was over. When
Mary asked him to perform a miracle there, the reply he gave was noteworthy, "My
time has not yet come." (Jn 2:4). But Jesus changes his mind before the request and
purity of Mary in order to save a family from humiliation. He disregards the time factor
and performs the miracle. God the Father has a tender and merciful heart. Standing
before that loving expression, ask anything that is required without fear and with an open
heart. All that God feels is good for us will be granted to us ignoring our sins and
weaknesses. If you change your mind for God, God too will change His mind for you.THIS IS
WHAT U CAN DO: 1. Instead of leading a life nurturing the guilt feeling
about your past sins, do charitable deeds to the best of your abilities. 2. Evangelize in any way you can. 3. Live in the presence of the Lord. 4. Surrender to God the persons and situations you
dislike. 5. Remember, the prayers that you deposit in the bank of
the heavenly Father will never go waste. Wait for the day God returns everything
with interest. Then all that you considered as curses will turn out to be
blessings. Are you leading a life of holiness that will change God's
Weekly Prayer Meetings with
Rosary, Praise & Worship, Scripture teachings and
Every Friday (except first Friday of the month) from 6.45pm to 9.00pm at Sts.
Peter & Paul Church 4070 Central Parkway East Mississauga, Ontario - L4Z 1T6
Intercessory meeting on First Friday of the month at 8.10pm to 9.00pm at
Sts. Peter & Paul Church 4070 Central Parkway East Mississauga, Ontario - L4Z 1T6