Photos : Studio Aurora, Mangalore

Sep 24 : The centenary year of Stigmata, the 50th death anniversary and the annual feast of St. Padre Pio was celebrated with pomp and gaiety at the St. Anne's Friary, Bejai here on 23 September 2018.

The Festive Mass was celebrated by Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, bishop of Mangaluru diocese. Fr Peter Cyprian D’Souza, the provincial councillor, Fr Paul Melwyn D Souza, the superior and many priests from diocese and religious congregations joined the celebration as concelebrants.

In his homily, the bishop Peter Paul Saldanha said, "Once when Padre Pio was praying he experienced a vision of the wounded Christ and received the Stigmata. On September 20, 1918, while hearing confessions, Padre Pio had his first occurrence of the stigmata: bodily marks, pain, and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata. Though Padre Pio said he would have preferred to suffer in secret, by early 1919, news about the stigmatic friar began to spread in the secular world. Padre Pio's wounds are said to have been examined by many people, including physicians. Sometimes the wounds were visible and sometimes they were not visible but Padre Pio was suffering from pain. He was praying to God to heal his wounds as he was feeling shy. Many people were coming to him to see his wounds and Padre Pio was requesting God to heal the wounds from outside but at the same time he prayed that he was ready to bear the pain."

"St Padre Pio is a great example for living a life of simplicity and prayer. He showed us the importance of prayer and confession of our sins. He had faced many challenges in his life. Vatican has testified regarding the stigmata meaning wounds of Christ’s passion that used to appear on his body. Church prevented him from doing his duties of priest for two years. Then finally all realised that the wounds that appeared on Padre Pio’s hand were a miracle,”

“In his entire life he gave importance to prayer and love to poor and destitute. He tried to give salvation which was assured by Jesus Christ, by hearing sins of people by the sacrament of confession. Today, crores of devotees follow the way of life taught by Padre Pio. They are taking Padre Pio as a role model for holy life which is based purely on humanity. The feast of Padre Pio reminds us about a life of prayer, love and self sacrifice. Now we too should make efforts to attain the holiness in life like Padre Pio," he added.

Music director Joel Pereira and his team enhanced the spirituality of the Eucharistic celebration with melodious hymns.

After the Eucharistic celebration, bishop Dr Peter Paul Saldanha was honoured. Bishop released a book on legal information — 'Kanoonache Vater' authored by advocate Fr Jochim D'Souza and "Amar Jivith - Vol 17" Audio CD of hymns produced by Fr Dolphy and Fr Peter Cyprian D’Souza.

Fr Paul Melwyn D Souza rendered vote of thanks. Sumptuous dinner was served to all the faithful.  Fr. Derick D'Souza compered the programme.

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