DEVOTEES of Padre Pio de Pietrelcina were urged on Monday to emulate his faithful heart amid social stigma, during the Mass in honor of the arrival of the saint’s heart relic in UST.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo David said being on the police drug watchlist is the worst stigma in the country.

“This stigma can get people jailed or even killed and then people just shake their heads with pity when they see their dead bodies on the street alley, especially among the informal settlers in Metro Manila,” David said.

David, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, reminded the faithful that Christ’s way is never to kill, but to offer one’s life for others.

“The heart of Padre Pio, like that of Jesus, burned with a priestly way to save and not to condemn sinners. [T]the nature of God is not to condemn [but] to save,” he said.

David also called on priests and religious to draw inspiration from Padre Pio’s life and priestly ministry.

Hilingin nating siya ang maging inspirasyon nating lahat upang manatiling maalab sa ating mga puso ang pag-ibig ni Kristo [at] ang pagsusumikap na manatiling tapat sa pag-ibig na ito sa kabila ng mga sugat na dulot ng ating karupukan at mga kataksilan,” he said.

During the send-off Mass on Tuesday, Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P., parish priest of Santisimo Rosario Parish in UST, said Padre Pio taught people how to remain faithful to God amid sufferings.

“What makes a saint is not what they felt but how they made the act of faith, hope and love no matter how they felt. Pinilit pa rin niyang gumawa at manampalataya. We should not miss the chance to let God enter our hearts,” he said.

According to the UST Security Office, an estimated 100,000 devotees flocked to UST to venerate the heart relic.

The relic stayed in the University for an overnight public veneration until Tuesday morning. It was then brought to the Manila Cathedral. The relic will also be brought to Cebu and Davao.

Padre Pio was a Capuchin confessor known for his stigmata or the appearance of the wounds of Christ on his body, as well as for bilocation.

He was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II on June 16, 2002. E. D. V. Aboy, O.P. and J. C. S. de la Cruz


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