Padre Pio had a special credibility in that “he bore the wounds of Jesus, the stigmata,” Cardinal Dolan said at a press conference near the saint’s relics in the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sept. 17.
The press conference followed the 10:15 a.m. Mass the cardinal celebrated that welcomed the relics to the cathedral.
Despite his suffering, Padre Pio exuded peace and joy, the cardinal said. “That’s what we need today. There are so many people that bear the wounds of Jesus,” he said of “the sick in soul, mind and body,” and of victims of terrorist attacks in London, victims of hurricanes in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, and of earthquakes in Mexico.
“You look at our cities, our countries…we look within, and you see reasons to lose hope and give up.”
But Padre Pio says otherwise. “I need to hear that, something tells me we all do,” the cardinal said. “Something tells me why these thousands of people are lined up.”
Padre Pio not only encouraged people who were ill to visit their doctor, he also founded a great hospital, added the cardinal. “He said God works through physicians, through nurses, through us taking care of ourselves.”
Of the vast number in line to venerate Padre Pio’s relics, Cardinal Dolan noted it was “tremendous” and a testament of “the faith.”
“It’s not that we’re superstitious,” the cardinal said of the relics venerated by the faithful. “They’re not like supernatural rabbits’ feet or something.”
What they are, continued the cardinal, are reminders of a man who was close to Jesus, “of a man who bore the sufferings of our Lord on the cross, in his own life.
“And what they do then is strengthen our faith—our faith and our prayer. And that’s why these folks are here.”