Boston, Mass., Sep 9, 2016 / 05:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Capuchin keepers of the relics of the late mystic Padre Pio are sending the saint’s heart to Boston for his feast day.
"I'm very excited to announce that the Capuchin Friars who run the Shrine of St. Padre Pio have offered to come to Boston with the heart of Padre Pio for his feast day this year," Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston announced in a Sept. 2 post on his blog. "This is the first time any major relic of Padre Pio has left Italy, and we are so pleased that they have offered to come to Boston for this historic visit. We know that many people throughout our country have a great devotion to Padre Pio, so the friars have made this possible especially for those who are not able to travel to San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy to venerate his relics and pray for his intercession," he added.
The relic will be in the Boston area from Sept. 21 through his feast day, Sept. 23. It will be the only stop the relic will make during this trip. St. Pio of Pietrelcina, colloquially known as “Padre Pio,” was a priest of the Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin, a stigmatist, and a mystic, who lived from 1887-1968. He was beatified in 1999, and canonized in 2002 by St. John Paul II, who often sought spiritual counsel from the mystic when he was alive. Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina, but served in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, from 1916 until his death in 1968.
His body, which has remained partially incorrupt years after his death, was sent to Rome in February as a special initiative for the Jubilee of Mercy. Padre Pio was someone who spent his entire life in service of God’s mercy, Pope Francis said in February. “We can say that Padre Pio was a servant of mercy. He did so full-time, practicing, at times in exhaustion, the apostolate of listening,” the Pope said. Through his ministry in the confessional, where he would at times spend 10-15 hours a day, the saint was able to become “a caress of the living Father, who heals the wounds of sin and refreshes the heart with peace,” Pope Francis added.
Padre Pio’s body was also taken to his hometown of Pietrelcina for the first time since he left as a young priest. It is said that while he was alive, Padre Pio never left San Giovanni Rotonto after being assigned there. When was asked if he would ever return to his childhood hometown of Pietrelcina, the saint said that he would return one day, but not until after his death.
According to a schedule released by the Archdiocese of Boston, the locations where the public may view his heart in Boston are as follows: Wednesday, Sept. 21 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Immaculate Conception, Lowell. Veneration will be held throughout the day with Mass at noon. 7 p.m.-midnight at St. Leonard's Church, North End of Boston. Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m., followed by veneration until midnight. Thursday, Sept. 22 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Archdiocese of Boston Pastoral Center, Braintree. Veneration will be held throughout the day with Mass at noon. 7 p.m.-midnight at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston. Spanish Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m., followed by veneration until midnight. Friday, Sept. 23 (The Feast of St. Padre Pio) 9 a.m.-midnight at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston. Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m., followed by veneration throughout the day. Cardinal O'Malley will also celebrate Mass at 7 p.m., followed by veneration until midnight