DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 October) -– The visit of the incorrupt heart relic of Padre Pio, an Italian priest and a mystic known to have received the gift of stigmata or the wounds of Christ, should inspire Filipinos to be holy, to change the social and political ills of the nation.
Fr. Ilde Dimaano, social communications director of the Archdiocese of Lipa and representative of the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio in Batangas, told reporters during the public veneration at the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU)-Matina campus on Sunday that he believes this is the message of Padre Pio’s heart relic visit to both Catholic and non-Catholics.
He said the political structure alone can only do so much to address what ails the country but holiness can bring about orderliness and inspire people to live a moral life.
He said holiness does not have to be confined within the walls of the church and that people should embrace it as their way of life as did Padre Pio before.
“Hindi natin kailangan mag-away away. Ang kinakailangan natin mag-unawaan yan ang kabanalan. At ang kabanalan hindi tinatago sa loob ng simbahan. Ang kabanalan ay kahit saan ka pumunta, (We do not need to fight. What we need is understanding — that’s holiness. The holiness should not be concealed inside the church. Holiness is wherever you are) there must be good in your heart,” he added.
He encouraged devotees to follow Padre Pio’s reflections — “pray, hope, don’t worry.”
An estimated 50,000 devotees from around Davao Region attended the Eucharistic celebration and public veneration of the incorrupt heart of Padre Pio on Sunday.
The Archdiocese of Davao is the fourth destination of the 22-day visit of the relic in the country.
His heart, considered as a “first class relic,” arrived on Sunday morning from Cebu.
A predominantly Catholic nation, the Philippines is the fourth country visited by the relic this year and the first in Asia, he said. It visited visited US, Argentina, and Portugal.
The occasion is almost a “miracle” to have been visited by the heart relic of Padre Pio because it’s impossible to bring the relic out of Italy because its national treasure, he said.
He said half of the priest’s heart was discovered to have been preserved when his body was exhumed following the miraculous events allegedly as a result of the people’s devotion, 40 years after he died.
Many believed it could be a result of transverberation of the heart that he experienced at one point in his lifeas a “reward by God for loving him.”
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) initiated the visit of the heart relic with the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio Batangas.
He said Padre Pio was a “good model” for CBCP’s declaration of 2018 as the “Year of Clergy and Consecrated Persons” because he was a priest and a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM.)
He said the religious community was overwhelmed by the number of devotees who came to see the relic at ADDU-Matina campus, a proof of the Filipino’s religious fervor.
“Filipinos are very religious. They are dawn to holiness. It was mentioned in a sermon that if you are holy you attract a lot of people, how much more with Padre Pio,” he said.
Several devotees attended the mass and public veneration of the heart relic bringing with them various souvenir items including gloves and handkerchiefs with Padre Pio’s image.
Each of them patiently waited to touch the glass-encased relic despite the long queues and afternoon heat.
“We are always drawn to something greater than us and holy people like the saints. This relic is a representation of someone holy. This is not just a part of someone’s body, but of someone who became holy and who represented God,” he said.
“This is an instrument for us that we have something in us that will remind us to become holy. And now we are being called to be holy. That handkerchief must remind us that we touched it very, very near to the heart of someone very holy – Santo Padre Pio,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)