Relics of Padre Pio Coming to National Shrine in Washington

Multiple elements from his body will be visiting the nation’s largest Catholic church this weekend.

The arrival of the body of St. Pio of Pietrelcina at the Basilica of San Lorenzo Outside-the-Walls in Rome is shown on Feb. 3, 2016. His relics will visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., May 21-22.
The arrival of the body of St. Pio of Pietrelcina at the Basilica of San Lorenzo Outside-the-Walls in Rome is shown on Feb. 3, 2016. His relics will visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., May 21-22. (photo: Alexey Gotovskiy / CNA)

St. Pio of Pietrelcina never visited the United States during his time on earth, but now his relics, which include multiple elements from his body, will be visiting Washington, D.C., this weekend as they are displayed for veneration at the nation’s largest Catholic church.

The 20th-century Italian priest, often referred to as “Padre Pio,” received the stigmata, or wounds resembling those of Christ Crucified. He was also well known for the many miracles that occurred through him during his life on earth. 

The relics will be visiting the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception May 21-22. A spokesperson for the shrine, Jacquelyn Hayes, told CNA that this weekend will be the first time Padre Pio’s relics will be visiting the basilica. 

The first- and second-class relics include crust from the saint’s wounds, his blood stains on cotton gauze, a lock of his hair, his handkerchief that contains his sweat, and a piece of his mantle.

On Saturday, the relics will be available for veneration from 2 to 4pm in the Great Upper Church. The archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, will be celebrating a Mass in honor of Padre Pio at 4:30pm on Saturday as well.

The relics will also be on display Sunday from 11am to 4pm

The relics are being provided by the Tuckahoe, New York-based St. Pio Foundation, which annually sponsors a tour of Padre Pio’s relics. The showing is happening in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington.

The foundation’s website says that it sponsors “a tour of the relics each year to give hundreds of thousands of the faithful an opportunity to have a ‘spiritual encounter’ with Padre Pio, to pray to him, and to ask for his intercession.”

A tour schedule for the relics of Padre Pio can be found on the foundation’s website.

The foundation, which has a mission of promoting awareness of the saint and his charism, allows for requests to host the relics in a diocese or parish, according to its website. “The request must come directly from the archbishop of an archdiocese, the bishop of a diocese, or the pastor of a parish of the Catholic Church for an archdiocesan, diocesan, or parish veneration, respectively.” 

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