6 Catholic relics on display at St. Mary's Cathedral - WNEM TV 5

6 Catholic relics on display at St. Mary's Cathedral

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Six relics of the modern day Saint Padre Pio were available to the public for veneration at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

This was the last Mid-Western stop on the first-ever nationwide tour of the official relics. Earlier this year the relics visited six U.S. cities where attendance averaged 13,000 per city.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio, considered himself to be a simple priest. An Italian monk, he was internationally known largely because he miraculously bore the wounds of Christ on his body. He had the gift of bilocation, which means he could read souls and was regularly attacked by demons.

He also could subsist on small amounts of food and sleep despite hearing confessions for up to 19 hours a day. He frequently saw angels and saints, had knowledge of people despite meeting them for the first time, and was associated with many other miracles.

The relics available for veneration are Padre Pio’s glove, crusts of his stigmata, cotton gauze with his bloodstains, a lock of hair, his mantle, and a handkerchief soaked with sweat in the hours before he died.

Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, celebrated mass Friday morning at the Cathedral. After the mass, the faithful had an opportunity to venerate the relics and the Sacrament of Reconciliation was available at multiple times throughout the day.

"They feel that by coming close to the relics of Padre Pio they are coming close to holiness," Cistone said.

Cistone said he was honored and moved to have the relics on display in his parish.

"He used to wear these gloves with the fingers cut off the tops of them so that he could cover his wounds so we have one of the gloves that he wore. And the larger item there is the cloak that he used to wear," Cistone said.

The tour was sponsored by the St. Pio Foundation.

"These specific relics never travel abroad so they came specifically for this tour that we are sponsoring for the 130th anniversary of St. Padre Pio's birth and the 15th anniversary of his coronation," said Luciano Lamonarca, founder and president of the St. Pio Foundation.

The relics have done more than touch the heart of the clergy, but the people as well.

"It was cool that I got to see the relics and pray before the relics," said Andrew Carlson, Saginaw resident.

Even if for a brief moment, those who gathered at the parish on Friday said they felt closer to their faith and also to the modern day saint.

Live video from the Cathedral was streamed throughout the day on the Diocese of Saginaw’s website and the diocesan Facebook page.

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