PUBLIC VENERATION Saint Padre Pio’s relic to stay for 1 day at IC3
People will have 24 hours starting today to venerate the uncorrupted heart relic of Saint Padre Pio at the IC3 Convention Center in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
Unlike the previous days when veneration ended at midnight, the sacred relics of the Capuchin priest will be exposed to the public from 6 a.m. today to 6 a.m. the following day to allow throngs of people to pay homage to the saint’s heart.
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo will preside over the Mass at 6 a.m. on Sunday before sending off Saint Padre Pio’s uncorrupted heart to Davao City—the third stop of the relics’ 20-day Philippine visit.
People came in droves at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where the relics stayed from Thursday to Friday.
During the Mass before the uncorrupted heart was transferred to the IC3 Convention Center on Friday, Palo, Leyte Archbishop John Du challenged the people to make room for God in their lives and to get rid of whatever selfishness and hatred.
“Our hearts were created by God so we can experience His love. Human beings were made by God not to hate people but to encounter God, to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him,” he said.
“Our hearts then were not made for sin or to hate or get jealous,” he added.
Like St. Padre Pio, Du said everyone should let God reign in their hearts so as to overcome man’s sinful inclinations and weaknesses.
“Humans are prone to sin. But if we allow Jesus to rule in our hearts, then we can overcome sins. St. Padre Pio tells us that the only way to be happy is to love God,” he said.
“Let us ask ourselves what is in our hearts right now? Is it beating for love of God and neighbors? Or is it full of ourselves, anger, greed, and the longing for wealth, material possessions, and other selfish agenda?,” the bishop added.
The Philippines is the fourth country visited by the heart relic of St. Padre Pio, after the United States, Paraguay and Argentina.
A contingent of devotees from the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Batangas flew to Italy to fetch and accompany the precious relic to the Philippines.
The Luzon leg of the visit last Oct. 8 to 10 was hosted by the Archdiocese of Manila; the Visayas leg, from Oct. 11 to 13, by the Archdiocese of Cebu; and the Mindanao leg, from Oct. 14 to 16, by the Archdiocese of Davao.
On Oct. 17, the heart relic will be brought back to Batangas province where it will stay before leaving 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 of 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 neighbors.
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