On the day after the solemnity of Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario, the incorrupt heart relic of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a devotee of the Rosary, graced the University of Santo Tomas and the Santísimo Rosario Parish from October 8 to 9, 2018. This was part of the nationwide tour of the relic with the theme, “Healing and Reconciliation.”

Upon arrival of the heart relic at the University, Santísimo Rosario Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P., held the reliquary containing the incorrupt heart relic and enshrined it as part of the welcome rites.

In an introductory message by one of the Capuchin friars escorting the relic in its tour, some thoughts of Padre Pio were shared from the Saint’s letter to the teacher Nina Campanile of San Giovanni Rotondo dated November 1922. The stigmatist wrote, “from my infancy, Jesus has showed me signs of His very special favor.”

“Even though [young Padre Pio] was stubborn, in the end, Jesus won [over his] resistance,” shared the Friar. He added that, “This short introduction allows me to say that Our Good Lord watches over us with particular tenderness from our infancy and always plans for our life something beautiful: He calls us to send us! Vocation and mission, to call and to send, are two sides of the same coin.”

Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, born Francesco Forgione, was an Italian priest known for his charity and piety. He took the name Pio when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in honor of Pope Pius I, whose relic he often saw at his local Church. Despite his poor health, he became a priest in 1910, and in 1918, experienced the wounds of Christ appearing in his hands and feet. Upon manifestation of the stigmata, miracles began being attributed to him.

During the visit to UST of the heart relic at the Santίsimo Rosario Parish, a conference for clergy and consecrated persons was held on October 8 from 10:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m. This was followed by the procession of the relic from the Santίsimo Rosario Parish to the UST Plaza Mayor for a concelebrated Eucharistic Celebration with Kalookan Bishop Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David, D.D., as main presider.

Included within the mass were a Renewal of Vows for priests and religious, and a prayer for the sick and for the nation. Bishop David, in his homily, reminded the faithful, “Sa sentenaryo ni Padre Pio ng kanyang mga stigmata, lalo na kayong mga kapatid kong mga pari at relihiyoso at nasa buhay na konsagrado, tiyakin natin na sa bawat pagpasok ng mga mananampalataya sa ating mga simbahan ay may apoy pa rin silang ma-iuuwi, may apoy pa rin silang ma-ibabahagi sa kanilang kapwa. Ano ang saysay ng ating mga naglalakihang mga simbahan, kung wala na silang masumpungang ilaw na nagbibigay ng liwanag sa mga kadilimang kailangan nilang harapin araw-araw sa kanilang mga buhay? Ano ang kabuluhan sa ating mga salita kung wala nang init na naidudulot ito sa mga kaluluwang nanlalamig?” (On St. Padre Pio’s centennial anniversary of receiving the stigmata, most especially to my brothers and sisters, priests, religious, and consecrated persons, let us ensure that when the faithful enter our churches, they are still able to bring home [the fire of faith], that they can still share that flame with their fellow Christians. What is the sense in having big churches, if the faithful cannot find light to illuminate the darkness in their daily lives? What meaning can be found in our words if they have no warmth to share with souls [whose faith had already] become tepid?)

The Bishop further added, “Ang hatid ni Padre Pio ay isang bagong apoy na nagdulot ng bagong init, at bagong liwanag ng pananampalataya… sa paglapit ng taong 2021, sana bago dumating ang ika-limandaang taon ng pananampalatayang Kristiyano sa Pilipinas, ay hilingin natin ang panalangin ng mahal sa Santo Padreng Pio, na sana sa kanyang panalangin, ay muling magpaningas sa mga pananampalatayang nanglalamig ng maraming mga kapwa nating Pilipino.” (Padre Pio brings [with him] a new fire that shares the new warmth and new light of faith… As year 2021 approaches, I hope that before the quincentennial (500th) anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines, we can ask for the prayers of our beloved St. Padre Pio, that through his prayers, the waning faith of our fellow Filipinos will once again burn intensely.)

The overnight public veneration at the Parish church began at 7:00 p.m. on October 8, and the heart relic was transferred to the Manila Cathedral immediately after the send-off Mass presided by Fr. Coronel at 7:30 a.m. on October 9.

The visit of the heart relic of St. Padre Pio was organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on the Clergy (CBCP-ECC) in coordination with the National Shrine of Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, Batangas. Its tour of the Philippines is from October 5 to 26, 2018. The relic was in Luzon from October 8 to 11, at the Archdiocese of Cebu in the Visayas from October 11 to 13, and at the Archdiocese of Davao in Mindanao from October 14 to 16. It was brought back again to Santo Tomas, Batangas before it left the Philippines.