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Saint Pio relics to visit Metuchen cathedral

April 11, 2018

METUCHEN – Relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina – better known as Padre Pio – will visit the Diocese of Metuchen on Tuesday, April 17 as part of a tour to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his passing.

The public is invited to view and venerate the relics at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, 548 Main St., Metuchen, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Confessions will be available throughout the day.

Bishop James F. Checchio will preside at a 1 p.m. prayer service for the St. Francis School community. In addition, Msgr. Robert J. Zamorski, Cathedral Rector, will preside at a 7 p.m. Mass in honor of St. Pio with Fr. Timothy A. Christy, Episcopal Vicar of Evangelization and Communication, serving as homilist.

“St. Pio captivates peoples’ imagination for lots of reasons,” said Fr. Christy. “One is that God chose him, marked him out really, to continue the healing work of Jesus.”

During the Italian saint’s lifetime, he was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge. Since St. Pio’s death in 1968 and his canonization in 2002, faithful still believe that, through His intercession, God will heal their afflictions.

“Sometimes in our human weakness we need a ‘sign’ to help us keep going, or the impetus to return to God again if we have strayed,” said Fr. Christy. “St. Pio’s healing ministry provides hope and assurance that God responds to our needs.”

A half dozen relics will be on display for public veneration at the cathedral, the mother church for all Catholics in Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties. From there, the relics will move to the Diocese of Buffalo as part of a nationwide tour that began March 1 and will conclude Nov. 11.

In the Catholic Church, relics are physical objects associated with a saint or candidate for sainthood – part of the person’s body or something with which he or she was in contact. Relics are not worshiped but treated with religious respect. Touching or praying in the presence of such an object helps a faithful individual focus on the saint’s life and virtues, so that through the saint’s prayer or intercession before God, the individual will be drawn closer to Him.

The relics of St. Pio, on loan from the Saint Pio Foundation, include one of his gloves; crusts of his wounds; cotton-gauze stained with his blood; a lock of his hair; his mantle, or cloak; and a handkerchief used to dab sweat in his final hours.

“The whole purpose of the visit of these relics, is to help unleash for us a greater desire for holiness in our own lives,” said Fr. Christy. “Through St. Pio’s intercession, we will all strive to walk the pathways of a renewed Christian life.”

Devotees of St. Pio and visitors to the relics are in good company. In March, Pope Francis made a pastoral visit, in the footsteps of the popular saint, to the Italian town of Pietrelcina, the birthplace of St. Pio, and San Giovanni Rotondo, the site of the hospital and sanctuary which he founded.

In his homily, at a Mass celebrated in the square outside of the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Pope Francis, invoking the words of St. Pio, said, “Padre Pio decided to give himself to others especially as a Confessor. It is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we ‘begin to live a wise life … that is where the healing of the heart begins.’”

According to Fr. Christy, “One of St. Pio’s great gifts was his wise spiritual counsel and his many hours spent in the confessional. He was firm on the need for repentance, but was a doctor of mercy on the wounds of sin and pride.”

Echoing the model of St. Pio, the Diocese of Metuchen will offer an opportunity for visitors to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“We pray that through the power of sacramental reconciliation that real healing of souls will take place,” Fr. Christy said.

For more information on the St. Pio relic tour in the Diocese of Metuchen, visit www.stfranciscathedral.org; email info@stfranciscathedral.org; or call the Cathedral Parish Office at (732) 548-0100 Mon. to Fri. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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