Before the remains of
Joining with the many pilgrims who are visiting the Vatican Basilica in recent days, Pope Francis also prayed before the mortal remains of Fr Pio of Pietrelcina and Fr Leopold Mandić.
On Saturday afternoon 6 February, the Pontiff went to the Basilica, after receiving thousands of devotees of the two Capuchin confessors who had gathered in St Peter’s Square that morning. He entered the Basilica through a side entrance, accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and was then met by Archbishop Michele Castoro of Manfredonia - Vieste - San Giovanni Rotondo. At the Altar of the Confession, after receiving prayer cards written for the occasion by Cardinal Archpriest Angelo Comastri, Francis paused at the reliquaries which hold the friars’ remains. Then, like any other faithful, he took his place in a pew under the pillar of St Longinus, joining in the recitation of the glorious mysteries of the Rosary. The meditation was led by students of the Capuchin province of Sant’Angelo, Apulia, which is also named after Padre Pio. The two prayers on the prayer cards were then read at the end of the service, which the Pope also pronounced in a low voice. After about 20 minutes, as he was leaving the Basilica the Pontiff stopped to greet a child in a wheelchair, along with his mother, several faithful, two elderly women in particular – and religious of the Capuchin community of San Giovanni Rotondo.
The pilgrimage of the faithful to venerate the relics continues through Tuesday, 9 February. The exposition will continue on Ash Wednesday. On Thursday the 11th the relics will be on route to their places of origin.
St. Peter’s Square
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