A mother talks with her children about a relic of St. Pio of Pietrelcina April 13 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kansas. The relics are on tour through the Unites States, Canada, and Mexico as part of a 50th anniversary of Padre Pio's death and will be in Portland Oct. 15-16. (Christopher Riggs/CNS)
A mother talks with her children about a relic of St. Pio of Pietrelcina April 13 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kansas. The relics are on tour through the Unites States, Canada, and Mexico as part of a 50th anniversary of Padre Pio's death and will be in Portland Oct. 15-16. (Christopher Riggs/CNS)
Relics of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina — better known as Padre Pio — will be at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and The Grotto in Portland later this month.

The relics, available for public veneration, include the saint’s glove; the crusts of his stigmata wounds; gauze with blood stains; a lock of hair; his mantle; and his handkerchief soaked with sweat hours before he died.

The New York-based Saint Pio Foundation, which is sponsoring the tour, will provide books and items related to Padre Pio in the entryways of the two churches.

St. Pio was born on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, and baptized Francesco Forgione. He first expressed a desire for priesthood at age 10. In order to pay for the preparatory education, his father, Grazio Forgione, emigrated to the United States on 1899, where he worked for several years.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of Vatican City State, has endorsed the relics tour as a way for Catholics to learn about the family of Padre Pio, which sacrificed much for faith.

“The pilgrimage of the relics of Padre Pio in several cathedrals and

churches in the United States of America may awaken faith in families so that they might become a little Nazareth where the children could breathe in the Gospel from the example of their parents,” Cardinal Comastri wrote in an open letter to pilgrims.

The future saint entered the Capuchin order at 15, taking the name Pio. He was ordained a priest in 1910 at age 23. During his lifetime, Padre Pio was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge. He also bore the stigmata, wounds an individual receives that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus. They can appear on the forehead, hands, wrists and feet.

St. Pio’s stigmata emerged during World War I, after Pope Benedict XV asked Christians to pray for an end to the conflict. Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ pierced his side. A few weeks later, on Sept. 20, 1918, Jesus again appeared to him, and he received the full stigmata. The wounds remained with him until his death on Sept. 23, 1968.

Pope John Paul II canonized him in 2002.



About relics

In the Catholic Church, relics are physical objects associated with a saint or candidate for sainthood – part of the person’s body or something with which he or she was in contact. Relics are not worshipped but are treated with religious respect. Touching or praying in the presence of such an object may help a faithful individual focus on the saint’s life and virtues, so that through the saint’s prayer or intercession before God, the individual will be drawn closer to God.



Learn more

saintpiofoundation.org