The streets of Glenmore Park were bursting with joy on Sunday as more than 1,500 people gathered to celebrate the official reception and presentation of a first-class relic of St Pio of Pietrelcina, commonly known as St Padre Pio, to the local parish.
The occasion was also the saint’s feast day, the 50th anniversary of his death and the 100th anniversary of receiving the wounds of Christ, the stigmata.
The first–class relic (blood from the cloth that covered the wound in St Pio’s side) was received last month.
Father Suresh Kumar, parish priest of Glenmore’s St Padre Pio Parish, obtained the precious artifact from the order of the much-loved 20th century saint which belonged to the Capuchin Franciscans.
“The parishioners are elated to have this relic, they have been waiting for this,” he said.
Parishioners and faithful from across Sydney attended the day which began with a procession of the relic from the neighbouring Bethany school hall.
This was followed by the Feast Day Mass in a packed church led by Fr Suresh Kumar after which pilgrims were able to venerate the relic and receive a special blessing.
Pilgrims received the Plenary Indulgence from the Diocese of Parramatta if they went to confession, received Holy Communion and prayed for the intentions of the Pope.
The day concluded with lunch and family entertainment including rides for the children.
Deborah Sands, a member of the parish pastoral council and long-time parishioner, coordinated the celebrations with her husband Guy.
“We say these words of St Padre Pio in our parish novena every Saturday morning – ‘Pray, hope and don’t worry,’” she said.
“How wonderful we feel to know we have the relic in the Church. We are very honoured.”
Fr Suresh said that the life of St Padre Pio serves as a model of hope for the parish and clergy.
“Here is a priest who is revered by everyone for being holy. We are fortunate to have him as the parish patron,” he said.
The relic will be available for public prayer and veneration at the parish at 34-38 William Howell Dr, Glenmore Park, each Saturday morning.
This is an edited version of an article originally published by Catholic Outlook/Diocese of Parramatta. Used with permission.