Today, Sept. 20, the Church of the Incarnation is hosting five relics of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, courtesy of the Saint Pio Foundation, which is sponsoring a tour of the relics.
Fr. James Martin Nobles, OP, chaplain of the Church of the Incarnation and head of campus ministry at the University of Dallas, said, “We give thanks to God for this beautiful opportunity for our students and community at the University of Dallas. So many of us grew up with a deep love for St. Padre Pio and now we get to pray with his relics in our church. May this day be filled with exactly the graces that God wants us to receive.”
Founded in 2014 by the current CEO, Maestro Luciano Lamonarca, the Saint Pio Foundation has organized many such tours of the relics, transporting them all around North America to be venerated. Currently, they are touring the United States. Today is the last day the relics are in the diocese of Dallas before they leave the state.
Karen Bless, RCIA coordinator and assistant to the chaplain and rector, said, “I think this is a huge honor for the University of Dallas. I think it’s a beautiful testament to how the students are already living out their Catholic life so well that Bishop Kelly felt that it was appropriate to have us be a host site. I think that says a lot about the devotion that’s already present on campus, and I hope that everyone will make the time to stop by and pray.”
The relics came to the Diocese of Dallas on Sept. 18. Before reaching UD, they visited All Saints Catholic Church in Dallas and the Divine Mercy of Our Lord Catholic Church in Mesquite, Texas. The relics include the crust of his wounds, a cotton gauze stained with his blood, a lock of his hair, one of his handkerchiefs and a piece of his habit.
Fr. Garrett Bockman, parochial vicar of All Saints, said, “All Saints is honored to host the relics of Padre Pio. He is a towering saint of the20th century.”
The relics arrived at All Saints on Sept. 18 and were available for veneration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A special Mass was celebrated with Bishop Gregory Kelly at 7:30 p.m.
Fr. Bockman said, “It is important to host these relics to help grow awareness of the powerful inter- cession of the saints in heaven. We can ask for intercession with- out relics, but these relics often provide a powerful witness of the intercession of saints, who are still working in the world despite the death of their earthly body.”
Today, the relics are inside the Church of the Incarnation and veneration is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The usual weekday Masses will still be held, but the 5 p.m. Mass is a special votive Mass in honor of St. Padre Pio.
After Mass, there is a brief talk on St. Padre Pio by a diocesan volunteer who helped organize the event, Rich Kelly. Kelly has been working alongside Bishop Gregory Kelly, Bette Hoag and Patty Daniels to assist the Saint Pio Foundation on this stop through Dallas.
Kelly said, “I want to acknowledge all of the help and support provided by the liturgy teams at the three sites. Without their help, this would not have come together.”
The three-day visit to Dallas comes to a close after today, and the relics will head to the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in San Francisco.
St. Padre Pio is a powerful exemplar of the Catholic spirit and continues to serve as an inspiration to all faithful Catholics.
Karen Bless said, “St. Padre Pio is a beautiful example that the Lord is still making saints and still calling us all to be saints even in our modern times. All the different sufferings he endured are really inspirational. Just because the Lord chooses us to be saints, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to be without our sufferings, but I think [St. Padre Pio] is a good reminder to find value in that suffering and to persevere.”
St. Padre Pio remains one of the great and inspirational saints of our time and UD is privileged to host his relics.