Blessing with Padre Pio Relics
Padre Pio Prayer Groups
St. Francis Renewal Center
|Re: Blessing with Padre Pio Relics||November 5, 2007|
|Dear Spiritual Children and Friends of Padre Pio,
The Lord give you His peace!
|In response to concerns I received over the past several months from members of the Association of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups here in the USA, I am taking this opportunity to write to all of you. I hope this letter will answer the concerns and help us to recognize the beauty of the Padre Pio relics we possess, and understand the responsibility in the Church of those who possess them and use them for others.
The Church has always venerated and held in high esteem the relics of the saints. Canon Law treats the veneration of holy things and the penalties attached to the profanation or misuse of them. There is no prohibition for anyone to possess relics. Dignified veneration of relics demands that formal use of a relic ‘blessing’ or ‘applying’ the relic on another person, or public veneration of the relic, should be done with the express knowledge and consent of a competent representative of the Church (bishop, pastor, priest spiritual director, etc.)
For several months I have felt it necessary to inform you of this. Why? Because phone calls arrive asking me about individuals in possession of first class relics of Padre Pio who bring a blood-stained glove or blood-stained cloth of Padre Pio to bless someone who is sick or infirm. At times the relics are even brought to enhance or bless some celebration that may be questionable because it is not necessarily religious in nature. We must be careful with our enthusiasm for Padre Pio’s name and fame!
Relics have always played an important role in the devotional practices of the Church. To insure a relic’s authenticity it must always be accompanied by a certificate stating the fact, and this certificate must be signed by a representative of the Church (Vatican and/or Office of the Postulator of the Cause) and accompanied with an official seal. The ‘Authentic’ or Certificate from the competent authority of the Church insures that the relic venerated is truly what it is labeled to be. Because of the centuries’ old tradition and use of relics by the Roman Catholic Church, public veneration and devotion should normally remain in a place of worship. The use and imposition of relics should always be performed with the permission of Church authority in order to avoid any semblance of fanaticism. Sometimes the relic becomes more important than the Sacrament of the Sick and the blessing, prayers and consolation of the Church.
Whenever any non-ordained Spiritual Child of Padre Pio is called or presents him/herself as bearer of Padre Pio’s relics to bless those in need, I would ask that he/she please inform and request the express permission of the local Church authority either for each case or request a general permission. Most of the time, the local Church authority would be the local pastor or priest spiritual director; however, if widespread use is involved, it might require the permission of the local ordinary; if this is the case, your Spiritual Director can be of assistance. When someone is called to bless with the relic of Padre Pio, it would be commendable if that person encourage the sick, infirm, or troubled individual to call a priest to administer the Sacrament of the Sick, the Sacrament of Reconciliation or to speak with the person involved. Unless our actions lead to a trust in the Church and her ministers, the pious devotion and concern with the relic can seem like nothing less than ‘magic’ and a substitution for the Sacraments. Relics are not ‘magical amulets’ but objects that help us trust in God through the holy person whose intercession we invoke.
Our Prayer Groups, following the directives of Padre Pio, want to be always in conformity with Church teaching and trustingly submissive to Church authority. We are faithful to the Church. Informing and/or asking permission is another sign of the spirit of Padre Pio’s total fidelity to and trust in the Church. Can we be any different and still believe we are honoring Padre Pio?
With every best wish for all of you, I pray that we may grow in our love and devotion for Padre Pio and all he sought to instill in us. May the spirit of prayer and reparation in union with the Crucified Christ and His Holy Mother grow ever stronger within our hearts.
Peace and Blessings