NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In virtually any Italian neighborhood, you’ll find the gentle gaze of St. Padre Pio, his image on prayer cards and statues.
At the famed Borgatti’s Ravioli in the Belmont section of the Bronx, owner Chris Borgatti says the saint’s image serves as a reminder of “how we can be, too, in life with our fellow neighbor and share that charity.”
Now, to mark 50 years since Pio’s death, relics of his are in New York for veneration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
The sponsor says the cloak and glove come from a private collection in Italy and are rarely seen in public.
“Our collection was never traveled in the United States of America, and actually a tour of the relics has never been organized before,” said Luciano Lamornaca of the St. Pio Foundation.
Sunday and Monday, thousands of faithful are expected to pray before the relics. The cardinal’s Mass at 10:15 a.m. Sunday will also feature special music from the visiting choir of the Sistine Chapel, known as the personal choir of the pope.
Monsignor Robert Ritchie said being in the presence of objects that belonged to saints helps make a special connection.
It brings an “understanding of his holiness and his connection, spiritual and mystical connection, with God, and making a person realize that there’s more to life than just the every day,” Ritchie said.
Pio was a Franciscan friar who was said to bear the “stigmata” on his hands — the wounds of the crucified Christ. For a time, the church was suspicious and even banned him from preaching. But his following grew, and so did faith in him as a holy man. Three hundred thousand people attended when Pope St. John Paul canonized Pio in 2002.
Years later, devotion to St. Pio is as strong as ever.