A call for holiness
AS CEBUANOS on Thursday welcomed the uncorrupted heart relic of Saint Padre Pio, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma called on the people to implore the saint’s intercession for an end to the series of killings in the island.
“We bring to him our hopes for peace. If we come before St. Padre Pio’s heart, with our hearts open for change, something beautiful will happen. With God, nothing is impossible,” said the 68-year-old prelate in his homily during the Mass to
welcome the sacred relic at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Cebu City.
Thousands of people trooped to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral on Thursday to venerate Saint Padre Pio’s first-class relic.
Under the heat of the sun, people, including students, waved white and yellow flaglets as the saint’s uncorrupted heart arrived at the cathedral at around 10 a.m.
The church bells pealed as members of the renowned Sandiego Dance Troupe danced the Sinulog to welcome Saint Padre Pio’s relic heart.
Palma then presided over the welcome Mass inside the jam packed Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus with Bishops Oscar Florencio, Antonio Rañola, Daniel Patrick Parcon, and Buenaventura Famadico, and about 30 priests as concelebrants.
In his homily, Palma encouraged the people to emulate St. Padre Pio’s love for God and neighbor, otherwise the visit of the saint’s relic in Cebu would amount to nothing.
“His (St. Padre Pio) heart beats for the love of God and God’s people. He’s a man of prayer and great service who offers God’s mercy and forgiveness,” he said.
“The people visited by this saint must also become saints. Otherwise, his visit to Cebu will go down the drains. We are called to be holy. Hence, we must renew ourselves and be holy,” he added.
The religious relic, which arrived in the Philippines on Friday night last week, visited Manila before it was brought to Cebu on Thursday.
Today, it will be transferred from the Cebu Cathedral to the IC3 Pavilion in Mabolo, Cebu City where it will stay until Sunday.
After that, devotees in Davao will get the chance to venerate the relic.
The relic will stay for another week at the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio in Batangas before it leaves the country on October 26.
The visit of St. Padre Pio’s heart relic coincided with the Italian priest’s 50th death anniversary, as well as the centennial anniversary of the appearance the stigmata or the wound marks of Jesus on his palms, feet, and side.
Padre Pio, a Capuchin priest in Italy, was known for his charity and love for God and neighbor.
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