St. Padre Pio relics to visit Bismarck Diocese

Relics of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina – better known as Padre Pio – will visit the Catholic Diocese of Bismarck on Monday, March 12 as a part of a tour on the 50th commemoration anniversary of his passing, according to a press release from the diocese office.

The public is invited to view and venerate the relics at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bishop David D. Kagan will celebrate a Mass in honor of Saint Pio at 5:30 p.m.

There will also be the regularly scheduled daily Masses at 6:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. The sacrament of reconciliation will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Night prayer will be at 9:30 p.m.

The relics of Saint Pio available for public veneration will be the following: his glove; crusts of wounds; cotton-gauze with Saint Pio’s blood stains; a lock of hair; his mantle; and a handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died.

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. To pay for the preparatory education, his father, Grazio Forgione, emigrated to the United States in 1899, where he worked 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. 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. For this reason, most especially, those in need of relief of suffering (body or soul) find it powerful to come and pray before or simply be in the presence of a saint who suffered so greatly for his faith.

His 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 in 2002.