The “incorrupt” heart of St Padre Pio — who became famous for exhibiting the wounds of Christ — is coming to the Philippines.
The relic is due to arrive at Manila airport from Italy tomorrow (Friday, December 5).
The internal organ will then be transported by motorcade to Lipa as it begins its three-week tour of the Philippines.
Devotees will get their first chance to worship before the relic at a mass led by Archbishop Giordano Caccia at 9am on Saturday (October 6) at the the National Shrine of St Padre Pio in Batangas.
The relic will be in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and will stay in the country until October 26.
The Luzon leg, from October 8-10, will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Manila; the Visayas leg, from October 11-13, will be under the Archdiocese of Cebu; and the Mindanao leg, from October 14-16, will be handled by the Archdiocese of Davao.
Then, on October 17, the relic will return to Batangas until October 26.
The Philippines is only be the fourth country to be visited by the heart, alongside the US, Paraguay and Argentina.
The relic rarely leaves its home at San Giovanni Rotondo, the Capuchin monastery in where the stigmatist spent his entire life. He died there in 1968.
St Padre Pio ’embarrassed’ by bleeding
Padre Pio had his first occurrence of stigmata — bodily marks, pain and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ — while hearing confessions in 1918.
This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life.
He was embarrassed by this condition and most photographs show him with his hands and feet covered. However, this did not stop him becoming the centre of worldwide fascination and veneration.
At the time of his death, his body appeared unwounded, with no sign of scarring. There was a report that doctors who examined his body found it empty of all blood.
He was canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and is the patron saint of civil defence volunteers.
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