Elma church to host relics of St. Padre Pio

Posted at 8:11 PM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 20:11:34-04

Thousands of people are expected to come out to Elma Saturday to see relics of a beloved Catholic saint.

The Diocese of Buffalo is hosting the relics of St. Padre Pio at St. Gabriel's Church as part of the relics' North American tour.

Bishop Richard Malone will celebrate mass at St. Gabriel's at 8 a.m. in honor of the Catholic mystic and stigmatist.

"This will be a day of prayer for everybody. We are blessed and we are happy that the bishop has asked us to be the host for this event. Many people have a great devotion to Padre Pio," said Father Walter Grabowski, pastor of St. Gabriel's. "When they learned the news, they were really excited, so they're looking forward for that for that day."

The relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina were exhibited publicly for the first time ever at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in 2016 during the Holy Year of Mercy.

The following year, marking the 130th anniversary of the saint's birth and 15th anniversary of his canonization, the relics went on tour through the United States stopping in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City and Rockville Center, drawing 250,000 faithful who came to pray to the saint and ask for his intercession.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of St. Pio, and brief tours will take place from February to May and September to November stopping in 35 dioceses in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Relics include a glove, a handkerchief used to mop his sweat as Padre Pio died, a lock of hair, a cloak, blood-stained gauze, and crusts of his stigmatic wounds.

St. Pio, an Italian-born Capuchin friar was known for having heavenly visions. He was drawn to religious life at the age of 10 after hearing a Capuchin speak. He first experienced stigmata in 1918, while hearing a confession.

He is said to have the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, and abstinence from sleep and nutrition.

He died in 1968, after years of poor health. Pope John Paul II canonized Pio in 2002.

The relics will be on display until 10 p.m. Saturday. Visitors will also have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

St. Gabriel Parish is located at 5271 Clinton St., in Elma. For more information on the daylong event click here.

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