Faith Heritage

Pilgrimage to the National Shrine to Padre Pio

Growing up, you only know what is local to you. For me, that was attending the annual feast at the National Shrine of Saint Gerard in Newark. I never really gave much thought to the idea of shrines for other saints. I knew buses would come from all over the country to attend the feast and pray.

Over the years I have heard of individuals traveling to the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, the National Shrine of Saint Gennaro, and the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine, all in New York City. In a few weeks you will have the opportunity to visit another important shrine; The National Shrine for Padre Pio in Barto, Pennsylvania. This is the second annual trip organized by the Italian Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Newark. You don’t want to miss this day of picnic, pilgrimage, and prayer!

Padre Pio

Padre Pio was a priest, a teacher, a mystic, a friend, and ultimately, a saint. The fourth of eight children, Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio, was born in Pietrelcina (Benevento) Italy. In 1903, Francesco arrives in Morcone (Benevento) Italy to begin his novitiate in the Capuchin Franciscan Order and is given the name Fra Pio. He was ordained in 1910. Less than month after his ordination, on September 7th, the first signs of the Stigmata appeared after prayer. After serving in the Italian military, Padre Pio is permanently returned to San Giovanni Rotondo and awaits his official discharge in 1918.

St. Padre Pio
St. Padre Pio (Source: National Centre for Padre Pio Facebook page)

From the evening of August 5th to the morning of August 7th in 1918, without interruption, the supernatural manifestation of the Transverberation takes place upon and within Padre Pio, leaving a visible and bleeding wound on his chest, over his heart. The faithful flocked to see Padre Pio and seek his guidance and profess their confessions to him.

For the next 50 years, wounds of visible Stigmata will continue to bleed and show wounds of the Crucified Lord. He is medically examined over and over again and it is determined they were truly supernatural. By the late 1960s, Padre Pio is old and frail. In 1968, shortly after celebrating mass, he collapses. Approximately 24 hour later, he went home to the Lord.

On May 2nd, 1999, in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, Pope John Paul II proclaims Venerable Pio “Blessed.” In 2001 Pope John Paul II grants approval for the acceptance of a miracle needed for the Canonization of Blessed Pio of Pietrelcina.

Bus pilgrimage to the National Shrine for Padre Pio in Barto, PA

There are still seats available for the pilgrimage to the National Shrine on June 15th. Buses are departing from four convenient locations within the Archdiocese of Newark:

Bergen County: 400 Totowa Road, Totowa
St. James of the Marches
Bus lead: 973-979-0855

Essex County: 259 Oliver Street, Newark
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Bus lead: 973-589-2090

Hudson County: 208 Jefferson Street, Hoboken
St. Francis Church
Bus lead: 201-396-2843

Union County: 113 Coolidge Place, Rosella Park
Assumption Church
Bus lead: 973-319-2843

Buses leaves promptly at 9:00 a.m. and a Rosary will be prayed on the bus trip. This is a bring your own lunch trip and the busses will return by 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person and are available online at:

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