By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — Relics of St. Padre Pio will be on display at St. Wenceslaus Parish on March 27.
The exhibit will include crust from St. Pio’s wounds, cotton gauze with St. Pio’s bloodstains, and a lock of St. Pio’s hair. “All people of the Diocese of Davenport are invited to participate,” said Kelly Giese, parish secretary.
Saint Pius of Pietrelcina — better known as St. Padre Pio — was an Italian priest known for his piety and charity, as well as the gift of the stigmata. Pope John Paul II recognized Padre Pio as a saint on June 16, 2002. He is the patron of civil defense volunteers, adolescents and the village of Pietrelcina.
The Saint Pio Foundation reached out to Bishop Thomas Zinkula last year about the possibility of hosting a tour stop in the Diocese of Davenport. The bishop asked staff at St. Wenceslaus Parish if they would like to host, and they enthusiastically accepted.
On the day of the exhibit, the parish will celebrate Mass in honor of St. Padre Pio at 10 a.m., followed by veneration of the first-class relics from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The display is part of an American tour sponsored by the Saint Pio Foundation. “We are committed to fulfilling our mission to bring the signs of Padre Pio to the faithful in America,” the foundation’s president, Luciano Lamonarca, wrote in a letter to Bishop Zinkula. Lamonarca noted that many Americans don’t have an opportunity to visit the places in Italy where St. Padre Pio was born, lived and died. The tour offers an opportunity to “spend time in prayer to ask for St. Pio’s intercession in their lives and for the needs of others.”