September 23
Francesco Forgione, (Padre Pio) was born in Pietrelcina, Benevento, Italy, May 25, 1887.  He was the son of Garzio, a shepherd.  He always loved God and would keep God in his thoughts constantly. At age 15, he entered the Capuchin Friars despite his bad health, and joined the order at age 19.
One day he heard a voice from the tabernacle: "You will be scourged, crowned with thorns and nailed to the cross like St. Francis."

In 1910 at age 22, Padre Pio was ordained a priest. On September 20, 1915, he received the invisible wounds of Christ (stigmata).  Three years later on September 20, 1918, Padre received the visible wounds.
On that day while he prayed before a crucifix, a beautiful light shone forth from the tabernacle. Christ, as a radiant young man, appeared and moved toward Padre Pio. Rays of light from Our Savior's wounds transferred themselves to Padre Pio.

Padre Pio was devoted to the angels especially St. Michael and to his own guardian angel. He often told people to send their guardian angel to him with their requests.

Padre Pio would hear confessions by the hour. At times, for 18 hours a day. He was able to read the consciences of those who held back in the confessional. God gave Pio the special grace to bilocate, levitate, and heal by touch.

Padre Pio died September 23, 1968 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II,  June 16, 2002

Beloved Padre Pio, through your visible wounds of the Cross, you were chosen to glorify the crucified Jesus. Because the Cross has been replaced by other symbols, please help us to bring it back in our midst, for we acknowledge it is the only true sign of salvation.  Amen
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