By Laurie Hallstrom
A rare opportunity to venerate the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina will be offered in the Diocese of Rapid City, September 28-29 (see schedule at right). It will take place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Known to many as Padre Pio, he was a priest who bore the stigmata, or wounds of Christ. He was canonized June 16, 2002, by then-Pope John Paul II.
Vicar General, Fr. Michel Mulloy, said, “Relics bring us close to the saints, the men and women whom the church declares to be in heaven. God worked powerfully in their lives. Coming close to something that was a part of their lives, opens us up to the ways that God wants to work in our lives.”
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, relics in the Catholic Church are divided into three categories. First class relics are a portion of a saint’s body. A piece of bone would be an example. Second classic relics are clothing or objects that were part of a saint’s life, perhaps a rosary. Third class relics are objects, like a piece of cloth, that have been touched to a first class relic. The relics of St. Pio will be displayed in small containers known as reliquaries.
Describing a second class relic, Father Mulloy said, “I was in Assisi, Italy, and saw the tunic that St. Francis wore. It was amazing to think that this holy man wore this garment. It was a moment of encountering God through St. Francis and his own clothing. It helped me imagine his life. In seeing his clothing I could get in touch with him. It renewed my faith and trust and made me want to strive for a more holy life.”
Veneration, or showing great respect to a deceased loved one, is a common practice similar to decorating the grave of a relative. According to Catholic Answers, an organization dedicated to answering questions about Catholic Church teachings, during veneration Catholics do not worship the saint but ask their intercession for divine assistance with prayers.
Mary Daniel, director of Liturgy for the cathedral, said, “We will be setting out two wooden boxes at the front of the church by the handicap pews. Intercession requests and donations for the St. Pio Foundation will be placed in these boxes.”
Two Biblical examples of divine intervention through objects include the woman who was healed of severe bleeding just by touching the border of Jesus’ garment in Lk 8:44. Or in Acts 19:11-12, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured, and the evil spirits left them.”
The foundation will also provide religious items for purchase.
Cathedral OLPH Schedule for Relics of St. Pio
Friday, September 28
5:30 p.m. Votive Mass of St. Pio and Reception of Relics with Bishop Robert Gruss
6:30-10 p.m. Reconciliation
6:30 p.m. Veneration of Relics continues through Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
6:30 p.m. Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament resumes in Our Lady’s Chapel
Saturday, September 29
8 a.m. Mass for the Feast of the Archangels, Chapel
8:30 a.m Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament resumes Chapel
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Reconciliation
Noon Sung Rosary
3 p.m. Chaplet of Divine Mercy
5:30 p.m. Sunday Vigil Mass with Bishop Robert Gruss