During 2022 the Church celebrates twenty years since Pope Saint John Paul II canonised Padre Pio (1887 – 1968) as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.  In Ireland the faithful have always had a special devotion to Padre Pio, including thousands attending each year on pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, where the Capuchin monk ministered for decades. In 1910, the year he became a priest, Padre Pio received for the first time the stigmata, the bodily marks corresponding to the wounds suffered by the crucified Jesus.

To mark this anniversary, the Diocese of Down and Connor has arranged for the relics of Saint Padre Pio to be brought to Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast; All Saints’ Church, Ballymena, and Saint Patrick’s Church, Downpatrick from 6 – 11 November, for veneration by the faithful.  The relics are being brought to Ireland from the United States by the Saint Pio Foundation.  The first and second-class relics of Saint Pio available for public veneration will include:

– The crusts of the saint’s wounds

– Cotton gauze bearing his blood stains

– A lock of his hair

– His handkerchief soaked with his sweat only hours before he died

– A piece of Padre Pio’s mantle

Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor, said, The Diocese is very excited to host this pilgrimage of the relics of Saint Pio.  Saint Padre Pio is recognised by the Church as a model of faith and inspiration.  He has helped so many people, and there is a profound devotion to Saint Padre Pio across the diocese and Ireland with many seeking his intercession in time of need.  It will be wonderful that so many people will get the chance to spend time in prayer before his relics.”

In the Catholic Church holy 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 worshiped but treated with religious respect.  Touching or praying in the presence of such an object helps 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.

All are welcome to come along to venerate these relics of Saint Padre Pio and to join in public and private prayer.  Please see below the schedule of the Visitation of the Relics of Saint Pio in the diocese:

Sunday, November 6, 2022
5pm – 10pm: St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast
5.00pm: Evening Prayer

Monday, November 7, 2022
8.30am -10.30pm: St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast
10am: Mass in honour of St. Padre Pio celebrated by Bishop Noel Treanor
7.00pm: Evening Prayer

Tuesday, November 8, 2022
8.30am – 10.30am: St. Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast
10.00am: Mass to conclude veneration
5.00pm-10.00pm: All Saint’s Church, Ballymena
5.00pm: Evening Prayer

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
9am-10.00pm: All Saint’s Church, Ballymena
10am: Mass in honour of St. Padre Pio
7pm: Evening Prayer

Thursday, November 10, 2022
8.30am-9.30am: All Saint’s Church, Ballymena
10.00am: Mass to conclude veneration
5.00pm-10.30pm: Saint Patrick’s Church, Downpatrick
5.00pm: Evening Prayer

Friday, November 11, 2022
8.30am-10.00pm: Saint Patrick’s Church, Downpatrick
10am: Mass in honour of St. Padre Pio
7pm: Evening Prayer