St Padre Pio Annual Feast Ends with Festal Solemn Mass in Devotion & Fervour
Mangaluru: All’s Well that Ends Well!-That’s right. Quoting Shakespeare’s words, “But with the word the time will bring on summer, When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns, All’s well that ends well; still the fine’s the crown; Whatever the course, the end is the renown “-all I can say is that the nine days of Annual Feast celebrations of St Padre Pio culminated in a grand manner, with a procession of the Relic, and a Festal Solemn Eucharist on Sunday, 22 September 2019 at 6 pm. The Festal mas was con-celebrated by Very Rev Fr Maxim Noronha– the Vicar General of Mangaluru Catholic Diocese along with a bevy of clergy, to name a few among the 42 priests, the Capuchin Fathers were Fr Paul Melwyn D’Souza– Superior of St Anne’s Friary; Fr Peter Cyprian D’Souza– Provincial Councilor-Karnataka province; Fr Lancy Rebello- In-Charge of Padre Pio Shrine; Fr Richard Quadras- Animator of Divine Mercy Centre; Fr John Fernandes- Spiritual Animator of Secular Franciscan Order; Fr Gerald Lobo– Parish Priest ‘Monte Mariano Church/Monastery; Fr Victor – Assisi Press In-Charge; Fr Claude Mascarenhas of Trinity School-Parampilly; among others.
St. Padre Pio was an Italian priest who was known for his piety, charity, and the quality of his preaching, as well as the gift of the stigmata, which has never been explained. Padre Pio became internationally famous, and He famously advised, “Pray, hope and don’t worry.” Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968. His funeral was attended by over 100,000 people. Pope John Paul II recognized Padre Pio as a saint on June 16, 2002. His feast day is September 23. He is the patron of civil defense volunteers, adolescents, and the village of Pietrelcina. Devotion to St. Padre Pio began in 2003 in St. Anne’s Friary, Mangaluru. As the number of people drawing towards the saint increased, there began the Novena to the Saint which continues till today with increasing number of devotees.
The Annual Feast celebrations of Saint Padre Pio had begun at the St Anne’s Friary, Bejai-Mangaluru, since 13 September, with the nine days novena started from 13 Sept till 21 September, in preparation for the Feast. This is the 51st year of celebrations, and the Flag hoisting to inaugurate the festal celebrations was held on 13 September 2019 at 5 pm, done by Rev Fr Alwyn Dias-provincial of Holy Trinity Province, who also said the inaugural mass.
Each day since 13 Sept, Feast celebrations were held as per the themes, namely- “St Padre Pio’s life is an inspiration to live in reconciliation in families” in favor of families on 13 Sept; “St Padre’s Pio’s obedient life is a call to live a true Christian Life” favouring the children on 14 Sept; “St Padre Pio’s committed life is an ideal for today’s religious” for Religious people on 15 Sept; “St Pio’s life of prayer paves the way for religious vocations” for vocations on 16 Sept; “St Pio’s selfless service is an inspiration for workers” for workers on 17 Sept;
“St Pio’s compassion and generosity calls us to be generous” for benefactors on 18 Sept; “St Pio’s thirst for souls is a light of life for teachers” in favour of teachers on 19 Sept; and yesterday with the theme “St Pio’s patient endurance is a consolation for the suffering humanity” in favour of the sick on 20 September- The main Celebrant of the mass for the Sick (20 Sept) was Fr. Prakash D’Cunha, OCD the Rector of Infant Jesus Shrine, Bikarnakatte. The Retreat had begun at 10.00 a.m. followed by Mass and Praying over the sick, infirm and elderly, which was followed by a sumptuous meal for all the participants. The Friary clergy had expected a crowd of 750 people but more than 900 gathered for the religious ceremony.
The 20 Sept celebration was mainly for the Sick and Suffering as envisaged by St. Padre Pio himself. Padre Pio had built a big hospital in Giovanni Rotondo (the place where he lived and died) to take care of the sick and the suffering, and that was the memory remembered on 20 September. On 21 September, with the theme “St Pio’s unsullied life is a call for youth to shun evil” especially favouring the Youth, a large number of youths thronged the shrine to receive the blessings of Saint Padre Pio.
Finally, on Sunday, 22 September, the Festal solemn Eucharist was held at 6 pm with a procession of the Relic prior to the Mass at 5 pm. The main celebrant of the Eucharistic will be Very Rev Fr Maxim Noronha, the Vicar General of Mangaluru Catholic Diocese. St Pio’s dedicated life is an inspiration for our Christian life. St Padre Pio who is popularly known as “the mirror of mercy” was venerated in a grand manner. For the last 9 days, novenas were held as the preparation for this feast in St Ann’s Chapel.
The festal mass was celebrated in the Divine Mercy Retreat Hall (on the campus of St Ann’s Friary) with the presence of around 2000 faithful including the priests and nuns, who had also participated in the short procession of Padre Pio’s relic prior to the Mass at 5 pm. Fr Maxim Noronha preached a fitting homily and called upon the faithful to be the mirrors of mercy after the example of Jesus Christ and Padre Pio. “Let the life of St Pio be a beacon of light for us. Let his knowledge and blessed life inspire us. He led a life of sacrifice and service and we should inculcate these qualities in our daily lives. Without sacrifice, there is no love. It is seen in our daily life. There are three types of good people. First they do good for themselves only, second, they do good for themselves and only Family members and third are the people who forget about themselves and do good to others only. Such is Saint Padre Pio. He had a great love for the Eucharist and guided the people”, added Fr Maxim.
The choir was angelic. After the Eucharist, sumptuous dinner was served to all the faithful, nearly 2000 of them. Fr Paul Melwyn D’Souza, the Superior of St Anne’s Friary thanked everyone who made the Annual Feast a successful one.