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Padre Pio


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  • General Principles of the Padre Pio Prayer Group
    I wish to thank the Lord with you for having given Padre Pio to this generation in this very tormented century. In his love for God and for his brothers, he is a sign of great hope, and he invites us all not to leave him alone in the mission of charity. – Pope John Paul II, San Giovanni Rotondo, 1987) On January 26, 2001, Chicago Archbishop, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., officially approved the formation of a Vatican sanctioned Padre Pio Prayer Group at St. John Cantius Parish. The group is open to all Roman Catholics from any parish. It is affiliated with the International Association of Padre Pio Prayer Groups under the control of the Director General of the Foundation. “La Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” (Home for the Relief of Suffering), which is the hospital founded by Padre Pio and dedicated in 1956. Operating exclusively under statutes approved by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, through a letter from the Secretary of State, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, and dated 3 May 1986 (No. 160.9771A), the International Association of Prayer Groups’ administrative offices are in San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy. The five general principles which the Padre Pio Prayer Group follow are: Total and unconditional adherence to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, guided by the Pope and his Bishops; Obedience to the Pope and the Bishops whose representative, in each group, is the Spiritual Director; Prayer with the Church, through the Church, and in the Church; A willingness to share in the sufferings of Christ, as an effective means of reparation; and Generosity and self-sacrifice in undertaking works of charity for the suffering and the needy. There are no dues. Elections among the members are held annually to select a Lay Director and a Secretary. The Group meets once every month for prayer and celebration of the Mass at St. John Cantius Church. Saint Padre Pio, Pray For Us!
  • Membership and Structure of the Padre Pio Prayer Group
    Who May Join There are three classifications of membership: Full Membership is open to all Roman Catholics, from any parish, who will accept and abide by the Statutes as approved by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II in 1986. Full Members must be of legal age in Illinois. Full Members will hold voting privileges and may stand for and hold an elected office in the Prayer Group. Associate Membership is open to young people who have been confirmed in the Faith. This classification carries full voting privileges. Junior Membership is open to children who have made their First Holy Communion. There are no voting privileges in this category. All those who wish to become Members until the time of the initial election of Officers, will be Charter Members of The Padre Pio Prayer Group in St. John Cantius. Membership Responsibilities All Members are expected to make every effort to faithfully attend the Padre Pio Prayer Group at its scheduled monthly devotions. It is the power of our uniting in the offering of the Mass and in the special devotions which will fulfill the purpose of our formation into this Prayer Group. Additionally, all members are strongly encouraged to regularly pray for and visit those who are in hospitals. Elected Offices The Archbishop, under the Statutes, has appointed Father C. Frank Phillips, C.R., the Spiritual Director of The Padre Pio Prayer Group at St. John Cantius Parish. The Statutes require that Cardinal George also approve those nominated to the elected offices of the Prayer Group. Offices may be held by any member of the Roman Catholic Church, from any parish, who is of legal age in the State of Illinois and is a Full Member in The Padre Pio Prayer Group. There are three elected offices: Group Leader Vice-Group Leader Secretary / Treasurer The Group Leader and Vice-Group Leader will be those individuals who receive the most and second-most votes for Group Leader, respectively. In the event the Group Leader cannot fulfill the obligations of the Office, the Vice-Group Leader will assume that Office. These individuals will work together to represent The Padre Pio Prayer Group at any special events, annual meetings, and conferences or fill requests for presentations or information. They may plan events and meetings and generally promote The Padre Pio Prayer Group. The Secretary/Treasurer will maintain responsible financial records of income and expenses; file required financial reports, keep reasonable records of our meetings and activities for the National Office and handle appropriate correspondence. At all times, the elected Officers act under the authority and with the permission of our appointed Spiritual Director, who has final determination on all matters related to The Padre Pio Prayer Group. Election Procedures Nominations for office are submitted two ways: any member may, with permission, propose the name of a Full Member; or Full Members may submit their own names for office. Officers are elected by a simple majority, by ballot. In the event of a tie, a second vote will be taken. The Member with the most total votes assumes the office. The term of office is five years. Immediately after the first election of officers of The Padre Pio Prayer Group in St. John Cantius, we will forward our application for membership, endorsed by Francis Cardinal George, to the National and International Offices of Padre Pio Prayer Groups. Our Charter will be issued upon receipt of our application. Dues, Fees, Operating Costs There are no dues or fees required for membership, although the members may be decide to take up free-will offerings or make contributions to help defray set-up costs, printing and mailing costs, the purchase of Padre Pio items for sale, and local promotion of The Padre Pio Prayer Group. One of the statutes governing the formation of this Group states that any monies raised or generated by the Group which are in excess of operating costs will go entirely to the ‘Home for the Relief of Suffering’ (La Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza). A financial accounting is submitted to the National Office on a regular basis by the elected Secretary/Treasurer. We do have access to a number of religious items such as Padre Pio chaplets, rosaries, statues and books, which members may decide to make available at a modest markup. These will be sold through the St. John Cantius parish bookstore or members may sell them to friends and relatives. Again, any monies realized in excess of operating costs will go ‘the Home’ and all funds will be accounted for on a regular basis. Meetings and Prayer Services We will have regularly scheduled services, which will include the recitation of the Chaplet of Padre Pio, prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, for the continued growth and success of the Home for the Relief of Suffering and for our own personal intentions. The Tridentine Mass will be offered and the Prayer of Padre Pio After Communion will be recited at the end of Mass. Following the sacrifice of the Mass, a brief meeting with light refreshment will be held in the church hall. Topics for discussion at the meetings include Group business matters, Padre Pio-related news, correspondence from the National Office and other relevant information. Like all of life’s wonderful blessings, Padre Pio is to be shared. Relatives and friends are always welcome to join the devotional services and everyone is encouraged to introduce other Catholics to The Padre Pio Prayer Group. “Pray that the activity of the Prayer Groups will strengthen our devotion and be a source of grace for those who are still in darkness and have not seen the light of faith.” —Msgr. Riccardo Ruotolo, Director General, Padre Pio Prayer Groups
  • Daily Prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
    (The following is said prior to each day’s prayer intention) O Lord, hear my prayer. And let my cry come unto Thee. O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Your servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired, Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen. Sunday Father I implore you by the precious blood your divine Son shed in the garden, deliver the souls in purgatory. Have mercy especially on the one most forsaken and bring that soul into your glory to praise you forever. Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be… Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. Monday Father I implore you by the precious blood your divine Son shed in his cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory. Have mercy especially on that soul nearest the entrance into your glory. Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be… Eternal rest… Tuesday Father I implore you by the precious blood your divine Son shed during his bitter crowning with thorns deliver the souls in purgatory. Have mercy especially on the soul most in need of our prayers. Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be… Eternal rest… Wednesday Father I implore you by the precious blood your divine Son shed while he carried the heavy cross on his shoulders, deliver the souls in purgatory. Have mercy especially on the one richest in merits, so to praise you in glory forever. Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be… Eternal rest… Thursday Father, I implore you by the precious blood of your divine Son which he himself gave as food and drink to his apostles the night before he died, deliver the souls in purgatory, but most of all, the soul most devoted to the Eucharist. Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be… Eternal rest… Friday Father, I implore you by the precious blood which Jesus shed on the cross, especially from his sacred hands and feet. Deliver the souls in purgatory, particularly _______________(that soul for whom I am bound to pray). Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be… Eternal rest… Saturday Father I implore your mercy because of the precious blood that gushed forth from the sacred side of your divine Son in the presence of his sorrowful Mother. Deliver the souls in purgatory, particularly the soul with the greatest devotion to Mary. Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be… Eternal rest…
  • First Class Relic of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina at St. John Cantius Church
    After reviewing all pertinent documentation, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., granted approval for the veneration of a first class relic of Saint Padre Pio at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago. The relic was a gift to the Padre Pio Prayer Group from a major benefactor and originated from Fr. Gerardo Saldutto, O.F.M.Cap., Legal Representative of the Capuchin Friary of Our Lady of Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, in June 1999. Fr. Saldutto organized the Celebration of the Canonization of Padre Pio held in St. Peter’s on 16 June 2002. The relic consists of a large framed square of linen bearing a bloodstain from the wound in Padre Pio’s side, known as the wound of the transverberation of the heart. The relic is exposed for public veneration in St. John Cantius Church. The Wounds of St. Padre Pio [Letter from St. Padre Pio to Padre Benedetto, Aug. 21, 1918] While I was hearing the boys’ confessions on the evening of the 5th [August] I was suddenly terrorized by the sight of a celestial person who presented himself to my mind’s eye. He had in his hand a sort of weapon like a very long sharp-pointed steel blade which seemed to emit fire. At the very instant that I saw all this, I saw that person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. I cried out with difficulty and felt I was dying. I asked the boy to leave because I felt ill and no longer had the strength to continue. This agony lasted uninterruptedly until the morning of the 7th. I cannot tell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my entrails were torn and ruptured by the weapon, and nothing was spared. From that day on I have been mortally wounded. I feel in the depths of my soul a wound that is always open and which causes me continual agony. [Letter from St. Padre Pio to Padre Benedetto, Oct. 22, 1918] On the morning of the 20th of last month, in the choir, after I had celebrated Mass I yielded to a drowsiness similar to a sweet sleep. [...] I saw before me a mysterious person similar to the one I had seen on the evening of 5 August. The only difference was that his hands and feet and side were dripping blood. This sight terrified me and what I felt at that moment is indescribable. I thought I should have died if the Lord had not intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest.The vision disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were dripping blood. Imagine the agony I experienced and continue to experience almost every day. The heart wound bleeds continually, especially from Thursday evening until Saturday. Dear Father, I am dying of pain because of the wounds and the resulting embarrassment I feel deep in my soul. I am afraid I shall bleed to death if the Lord does not hear my heartfelt supplication to relieve me of this condition. Will Jesus, who is so good, grant me this grace? Will he at least free me from the embarrassment caused by these outward signs? I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him until in his mercy he takes away, not the wound or the pain, which is impossible since I wish to be inebriated with pain, but these outward signs which cause me such embarrassment and unbearable humiliation.
  • Memories from the Canonization of St. Padre Pio
    It promised to be a very warm day. The promise was kept with temperatures to soar to 100 degrees by 1:00 p.m. that afternoon. We were advised by Fr. Saldutto: “Be there by 6:00 a.m.” The Canonization was to begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 3:00. It would also be a long day. We arose well before dawn, but anxious crowds were already forming. Rivers of humanity from around the world poured toward the Vatican from all directions, reaching to the Tiber and the Castel Sant’ Angelo, filling the broad Via Della Conciliazione leading into St. Peter’s huge piazza and spilling into the side streets. It is impossible to estimate the size of the crowd. The Home for the Relief of Suffering, Padre’s hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, had already issued 250,000 free tickets for the Mass to its prayer groups. We had 50. On Sunday morning, more than 4,000 buses and 50 special trains were expected to arrive in Rome. Attendance estimates ranged from 200,000 to 800,000 and anticipation of the presence of the Holy Father and the omnipresent spirit of Padre Pio loomed over the throngs. Hundreds suffered from heat exhaustion or dehydration, with many dropping before the 6:30 a.m. official opening of the gates. It was a sea of organized chaos. We were mere specks, bobbing nearly helpless and somehow alone amidst human waves of excitement, concern and frustration. This was not to be the tranquil, floating holiday pilgrimage some expected. For most of us, it was to be a transcendent moment in our lives. Police prohibited motor traffic to cross the Tiber and the bus carrying our pilgrims, like all other buses, was directed to a specific spot near the Castel to unload. Then the bus was ordered to move or be removed. While some of our group hurried through the throngs to try to grab a good vantage point, others, because of their own physical condition or accompanying pilgrims less agile, found it difficult to make headway through the restless throngs to reach the areas designated for prayer group members with tickets. The pick-up of our pilgrims was just as trying—first in, last out—and the bus had a specific limit on how long it could remain in its assigned place or it would face an extraordinary fine. If you know Rome and are familiar with it’s police or laws, you know that a subway ticket may cost less than a dollar. But if you ride without buying a ticket, you face a $200.00 fine! The threat of fine to all bus drivers was several times as great, including impounding of the bus. Those who expected discipline, order and front row chairs in the shade were invariably disappointed. An English pilgrim was heard to admonish the countless masses behind her: “Please—no pushing! Let’s be patient!” To no avail. There was a free-for-all aspect to the occasion, with pilgrims from Italy feeling they had first rights to every available seat and place within sight of the canopy set up to shelter the Holy Father. Those very few pilgrims who were fortunate to sit near the Pope and behind the Cardinals witnessed squabbling laity and constant cell phone activity, even during the Mass and homily. Admonitions from Cardinals and Franciscans went unheeded. Was it an awesome experience? Absolutely. Was it a great personal and profoundly spiritual moment for most of our pilgrims? Absolutely. Was it perhaps one of the most challenging days of any of our lives? Absolutely. Was it perfect? Absolutely! As the temperature rose during the early and mid-morning, even our most stalwart and dedicated pilgrims had moments when they thought it would be impossible to remain in the sun. But many of us who underwent this trial say that at that very moment, there would suddenly come a blast of frigid air which would relieve their suffering and restore their determination to bear witness to this glorious occasion. One of our pilgrims later pointed out that this was a perfect example of Padre Pio’s presence among us. It was a reminder from him that if we expected his canonization to be an easy and comfortable “vacation experience,” we must recall that he suffered with us and for us for the last 50 years of his life and that it is not promised that our earthly lives are to be easy and comfortable either. It was a true life lesson. It was almost allegorical, an animated sacred Renaissance painting: an endless sea of humanity; blazing, desiccating heat; no shelter under a cloudless sky; personal, physical, mental and emotional stresses surrounding us, engulfing us in the momentary suffering of humanity set amidst the splendor and pomp of temporal, transient gifts of place and time. We were reminded that it is only through our faith in Christ’s abundant mercy that we receive relief from our suffering; it is through our faith in the teaching of the Church that our souls are quenched of their thirst for everlasting life. It is in the shadow of the Cross that we must seek refuge from the fires of Hell. It is in the love of His Mother and ours that we are given the perfect example of patience and of total faith in God’s Will for each us. And at the moment of our greatest trial during the occasion of Padre Pio’s canonization, many of us were mercifully relieved by the cool, sweet, fresh and restoring grace of God, manifest in the simplest way, in momentary breezes which enabled us to complete the pilgrimage to Calvary with our Holy Father in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Through His infinite love shone His infinite mercy. What joy! Through God’s boundless grace, we were sustained in our effort to glorify Him on earth as He is in Heaven. It was beautiful; it was profound; it was the experience of a lifetime for those who opened their hearts to it and received it just as God gave it. It reminded us of Padre Pio’s last Mass on September 22, 1968. Saint Pio of Pietrelcina—Pray for us!
  • St. Padre Pio—On Humanae Vitae & Vatican II
    [This letter was dated September 12, 1968, San Giovanni Rotondo. On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who had borne the wounds of Christ for fifty years, blessed his tomb, sacrificed his final High Mass, then died in the flesh, “to be able to do even greater things from Heaven.”] Your Holiness, I unite myself with my brothers and present at your feet my affectionate respect, all my devotion to your august person in an act of faith, love and obedience to the dignity of Him whom your are representing on this earth. The Capuchin Order has always been the first in the first line of love, fidelity, obedience and devotion to the Holy See; I pray to God that it may remain thus and continue its tradition of religious seriousness and austerity, evangelical poverty and faithful observance of the Rule and Constitution, certainly renewing itself in the vitality and in the inner spirit, according to the guides of the Second Vatican Council, in order to be always ready to attend to the necessities of Mother Church under the rule of your Holiness. I know that your heart is suffering much these days in the interest of the Church, for the peace of the world, but above all, for the lack of obedience of some, even Catholics, to the teachings that you, assisted by the Holy Spirit and in the name of God, are giving us. I offer you my prayers and daily sufferings as a small but sincere contribution on the part of the least of your sons in order that God may give you comfort with His grace to follow the straight and painful way in the defense of eternal truth, which never changes with the passing of years. Also, in the name of my spiritual children and the Prayer Groups, I thank you for your clear and decisive words that you especially pronounced in the last encyclical, Humanae vitae; and I reaffirm my faith, my unconditional obedience to your illuminated directions. May God grant victory to the truth, peace to his Church, tranquility to the world, health and prosperity to your Holiness so that, once these fleeting doubts are dissipated, the Kingdom of God will triumph in all hearts, guided by your apostolic work as Supreme Pontiff of all Christianity. Prostrate at your feet, I pray you to bless me in the company of my brothers in religion, my spiritual children, the Prayer Groups, my sick ones and also bless all our good endeavors which we are trying to fulfill under your protection in the name of Jesus. Humbly yours, P. Pio, Capuchin
  • The Holy Father’s Three Gifts to the Shrine of Padre Pio
    Three ‘special privileges’ have now elevated St. Pio’s shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo to the status of the shrines of Our Lady at Lourdes and Fatima. By decree of John Paul II, pilgrims will gain a plenary indulgence whenever they make a pilgrimage to Padre Pio’s tomb. This is on the condition that they go to confession, receive Holy Communion and pray for the Pope’s intentions while in San Giovanni Rotondo. The announcement was made on January 22, 2002, by Archbishop Luigi DeMagistris, major Penitentiary of the Catholic Church, at the end of the centenary celebrations for ‘the religious clothing ceremony’ of Padre Pio. On January 22, 1903, Francesco Forgione was given the name ‘Pio’ by the Father Superior of the Holy Order and was first clothed in the habit of the Capuchin Friars. The plenary indulgence is a Papal concession, a wonderful blessing, which allows for the possibility of a reduction of a sinner’s time in Purgatory. As mentioned in the last issue of Ecce, more pilgrims visit San Giovanni Rotondo than Lourdes - more than 7 million in 2001. The 50 pilgrims from the Padre Pio Prayer Group / Chicago who attended the canonization ceremony on June 16, 2001, learned of the second privilege at that time. It is the ‘exceptional’ decision by the Pope that the memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina be inserted into the Roman liturgical calendar as ‘obligatory’. Only two saints canonized in the last 100 years share this glorious distinction: Ss. Padre Pio and Maximillian Kolbe On September 23rd of every year - the date of the saint’s death and heavenly birth - Padre Pio will be invoked at all Masses offered on that day throughout the world, and in the reading of the Divine Office. Although the Holy Father gave this particular gift to the Church at the June 2002 canonization, very few parishes followed this direction last September. All devotees of St. Pio should remind their parish priests of this and also make a special point of attending a Holy Mass on Tuesday, September 23rd this year. We build devotion in others by our example and direction and devotion to Our Lord yields miraculous fruit. The third privilege relates to the linking of the name of San Giovanni Rotondo to the name of the diocese in which the town is located, that is, the diocese of Manfredonia-Vieste. Now the diocese will now be known as the diocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo. San Giovanni Rotondo is the town where Padre Pio lived for most of his life, where he died on September 23, 1968 and where his body is now entombed. The addition of the shrine’s name to the original name of the diocese in which the miracles took place also happened in the case of Lourdes and Fatima. Our Lady appeared at Lourdes to St. Bernadette in the diocese of Tarbes. The name of Lourdes was added in 1912, fifty-eight years after the apparitions, creating the diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes. In 1984, two years after the assassination attempt on the Holy Father, Fatima was added to the name of the diocese of Leira in which Our Lady appeared. The diocese is now called Leira-Fatima. These privileges all come by the decision of Pope John Paul II, who went to confession to Padre Pio in April of 1947 and, later, in 1962, asked the Padre to intercede with God for the cure of Wanda Polawska, a Polish woman friend with seven children who had a life-threatening tumor. She was subsequently cured.
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