This is the first time a relic of St. Pio of Pietrelcina has left Italy where the body of St. Pio is permanently exposed for veneration by millions of devotees who visit the Shrine of San Giovanni Rotondo.
“We know that many people throughout our country have a great devotion to Padre Pio, so the friars have made this possible especially for those who are not able to travel to San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy to venerate his relics and pray for his intercession,” Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said in a statement.
Close to midnight, the line to see the heart relic continued. This week, St. Leonard Church was also made a Jubilee of Mercy Church, a privilege ordinarily granted to cathedrals.
Saint Padre Pio has a strong following in Boston’s North End where an annual procession takes place each June in honor of the relatively new saint.
St. Padre Pio was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. Pius of Pietrelcina (1887-1968) was a Capuchin Catholic priest from Italy, born as Francesco Forgione and given the name Pius (Italian: Pio) when he joined the Capuchins, thus known popularly as Padre Pio. He was also famous for bearing the stigmata.