To celebrate the 136th birthday of Padre Pio, the saint from Pietrelcina, all prayer groups in Gozo and devotees of the saint are invited to attend a special prayer session at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces in Victoria on Thursday at 6.15pm.

The meeting will begin with the recitation of the rosary and moments of adoration of the Holy Eucharist, followed by a solemn concelebrated mass led by Mgr Paul Darmanin OFM cap, former bishop of Garissa, Kenya, assisted by Fr Guardian Mark Scicluna OFM cap, Fr Manuel Abela OFM cap and spiritual directors of prayer groups. After mass, there will be the kissing the saint’s relic. Mario Caruana will animate the celebration.

At the end of the celebration, a money donation will be presented to Mgr Darmanin to help Capuchin seminarians in Kenya.

Padre Pio, born on May 25, 1887, was an Italian Franciscan Capuchin friar, who was known for his piety and charity, as well as the gift of the stigmata. He became a priest in 1910, but was permitted to remain at home because of his poor health. By 1919, word began to spread about Padre Pio’s stigmata and people came from far away to examine him.

Padre Pio became popular with the people he encountered and soon began to attribute supernatural occurrences to him. For example, he was said to levitate and able to perform miracles.

Padre Pio’s famous saying was: “Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer”.

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