Fr Leonard E Dollentas
It started in 2018. Every year since then, the Sunday closest to the feast day of St. Padre Pio (September 23), sees a celebration by the English-speaking community of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady in honor of the saint, their patron.
This year, the celebration was held on the 25th of September which witnessed a large number of devotees participating. The mass was held at 6.30 pm with Fr. Raymund Gaspar of the Filipino Pastoral Centre in Macau concelebrating. An important part of the celebration was prayer for the sick in the community and around the world. The Eucharist was followed by a festal dinner at the bishop’s garden near the Cathedral. A number of Filipinos joined in, along with some locals who are ardent devotees of Padre Pio.
St. Padre Pio, the well-known Italian Capuchin friar and priest, who showed signs of stigmata, lived from 1887 to 1968 and was canonized in 2002. He was also known, in life and through intercession, to heal the sick in ways that have had no known medical explanation. He once said: “After my death, I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death.”
Today, St. Padre Pio continues to draw numerous people towards Christ who, by repenting their sins, turn towards Him. He compared weekly confession to dusting a room weekly and recommended performing meditation and self-examination twice daily: once in the morning, as preparation to face the day, and once again in the evening, as retrospection. His advice on the practical application of theology, he often summed up in his now famous quote: “Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry”. He directed Christians to recognize God in all things and to desire above all things to do the will of God.
On June 16, 2002, after further consideration of Padre Pio’s virtues and ability to do good even after his death, including discussion of another healing attributed to his intercession, Pope John Paul II declared him a saint. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony in Rome.
While the devotion of St. Padre Pio is observed every first Sunday and first Tuesday during the English mass at the Cathedral, the love towards the saint and requests for his intercession has been increasing day by day among the faithful.