Padre Pio and Pandemics

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In the current COVID-19 pandemic, the faithful have been turning to St. Padre Pio—one of the world’s most prayed-to saints—for healing. But did you know that Padre Pio’s ministry was directly connected to our last great worldwide pandemic, the Spanish Flu? In honor of the anniversary of Padre Pio’s canonization on June 16, West Chester University professor and anthropologist, Dr. Michael A. Di Giovine, discusses the connection between St. Pio’s stigmata, the pressures of his early popularity, and the Spanish flu. Dr. Di Giovine traces Padre Pio's gradual realization of his ministry to suffer for others, a virtue of mercy that Pope Francis has exhorted the faithful to embrace in our contemporary pandemic. The talk ends with an update on how the current COVID-19 crisis has affected the sites of Padre Pio pilgrimage in San Giovanni Rotondo, Pietrelcina, and the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, PA. Dr. Di Giovine, a parishioner of SS Peter and Paul Parish who has conducted decades of research on the saint, also provides St. Pio’s blessing through one of his relics.

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