FRANCESCO Forgione, better known as St. Pio (Padre Pio) of Pietrelcina, is one of the most popular saints today and the patron of many Catholics. Many devotees claim that through St. Pio’s intercession, prayers were answered.

According to the Catholic Digest website, St. Padre Pio was an Italian Franciscan Capuchin priest, stigmatist, and mystic. He had unique gifts from God such as exhibiting the stigmata, being a catalyst for miracles and bilocating.

The stigmata, the wounds of Christ, has been present with St. Pio most of his life. These wounds are believed to be miraculous.

He spent his entire priesthood in San Giovanni Rotundo, Italy, where numerous Catholics would flock say confession. He recognized as a Holy person and would give spiritual guidance. He had a special close relationship with Jesus, Mary, and his guardian angel.

He also established a home for those who suffer, the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (Home for the Relief of Suffering) in 1956. Today, the hospital still stands and is seen as one of his greatest legacies.

His life was prayerful. He was a living saint. He was canonized by Pope John Paull II (now St. John Paul II) on June 16, 2002.

St. Pio’s quote “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer,” is an inspiration to his followers. These words comfort a lot of people.

St. Pio would have been 136 years old last May 25. Followers including this writer attended the Holy Mass in his honor at the Grotto of Saint Padre Pio at Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish in Airport Subdivision.

We were informed by the Diocese of Bacolod led by Bishop Patricio Buzon that the priests had been reshuffled thus, it was during that occasion that the parishioners said thank you to Rev. Fr. Angelo (Joji) Ansula and welcomed Rev. Fr. Raymon Asoy to the community.

Relics of St. Pio are exposed for prayer and veneration from 7am to 6pm daily at the Padre Pio Chapel in the Grotto of Saint Padre Pio.

There is a monthly mass every 4th Saturday of the month at 5pm and the Padre Pio hour is every Saturday at 9-10:30am. Spiritual Children Prayer Session is every first Monday of the Month. Everyone is welcome to attend masses and activities.