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21 JUNE 2009

Videos of the visit:
Pope - Padre Pio an instrument of the power of The Cross
Papal visit to San Giovanni Rotondo

Pop Benedict XVI
Pope at the Tomb 1
Pope Benedict approaches the tomb of St Pio
Pope at the Tomb 2
Pope Benedict kneels at the tomb of St Pio
Pop at the tomb 3
Pope Benedict praying at the tomb of St Pio
Pop at the tomb 4
Pope and the heart of Padre Pio
Pop at the tomb 5
Close up of the Pope and the heart of Padre Pio
Pop at the tomb 6
Pope Benedict Praying
Crowds outside the Church
The crowds in the piazza outside the church
The Pope and a painting of Padre Pio
The Pope and a portrait of Padre Pio
The Pope says Mass
The Pope says Mass
The Pope says Mass 2
The Pope says Mass
The Pope Says Mass 3
The Pope Saying Mass
The Pope Says Mass 4
The Pope Saying Mass

Video: Pope says Padre Pio an instrument of the power of The Cross
Video: Papal visit to San Giovanni Rotondo

The Papal address to the Priests, Religious and Young People at the Church of St Pio

"Love for Christ Is Inevitably Linked to Love for His Church"

Dear priests,

Dear men and women religious,

Dear young people,

With this our encounter my pilgrimage to San Giovanni
Rotondo comes to a close. I am grateful to the Archbishop of
Lecce, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese, Archbishop
Domenico Umberto D'Ambrosio, and to Father Mauro Jöhri,
secretary general of the Capuchin Friars Minor, for the
words of cordial welcome that they have given me on your
behalf. My greeting is now turned to you, dear priests, who
are daily engaged in the service of God's people as wise
guides and diligent workers in the vineyard of the Lord. I
greet with affection the dear consecrated persons, called to
offer the testimony of a total dedication to Christ through
the faithful practice of the evangelical counsels. A special
thought for you, dear Capuchin Friars, who lovingly care for
this oasis of spirituality and evangelical solidarity,
welcoming pilgrims and devotees gathered by the living
memory of your holy confrere, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
Thank you very much for this valuable service you render to
the Church and to souls who here rediscover the beauty of
faith and the warmth of divine tenderness. I greet you, dear
young people, to whom the Pope looks with confidence as to
the future of the Church and society. Here in San Giovanni
Rotondo, everything speaks of the sanctity of a humble friar
and a zealous priest, who this evening, also invites us to
open our hearts to the mercy of God; he exhorts us to be
holy, that is, sincere and true friends of Jesus.

Dear priests, just the other day, the Solemnity of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus and the day of priestly holiness, we
began the Priestly Year, during which we will recall with
reverence and affection the 150th anniversary of the death
of St. John Mary Vianney, the holy Curé d'Ars. In the
letter I wrote for the occasion, I wanted to stress the
importance of the sanctity of priests for the life and
mission of the Church. Like the Curé d'Ars, Padre Pio also
reminds us of the dignity and responsibility of the priestly
ministry. Who was not impressed by the fervor with which he
re-lived the Passion of Christ in every celebration of the
Eucharist? From his love for the Eucharist there arose in
him as the Curé d'Ars a total willingness to welcome the
faithful, especially sinners. Also, if St. John Mary
Vianney, in a troubled and difficult time, tried in every
way, to help his parishioners rediscover the meaning and the
beauty of sacramental penance, for the holy friar of the
Gargano, the care of souls and the conversion of sinners
were a desire that consumed him until death. How many people
have changed their lives thanks to his patient priestly
ministry, so many long hours in the confessional! Like the
Curé d'Ars, it is his ministry as a confessor that
constitutes the greatest title of glory and the distinctive
feature of this holy Capuchin. How could we not realize then
the importance of participating in the celebration of the
Eucharist devoutly and frequently receiving the sacrament of
confession? In particular, the sacrament of penance must be
even more valued, and priests should never resign themselves
to seeing their confessional deserted or to merely
recognizing the diffidence of the faithful for this
extraordinary source of serenity and peace.

There is another great lesson that we can learn from the
life of Padre Pio: the value and necessity of prayer. To
whomever that would ask him about himself, he used to reply:
"I am nothing but a poor friar who prays." And he really did
pray always and everywhere with humility, confidence and
perseverance. Here is a key point not only for the
spirituality of the priest, but also that of every
Christian, and even more for you, dear men and women
religious, chosen to follow Christ more closely through the
practice of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Sometimes one can become taken by a certain discouragement
before the weakening and even the abandonment of faith that
exists in our societies. Surely we must find new channels to
communicate the message of the Gospel to the men and women
of our time, but since the essence of the Christian message
is always the same, it is necessary to return to its
original source, to Jesus Christ who is "the same yesterday
and today and forever "(Hebrews 13:8). The human and
spiritual life of Padre Pio teaches that only a soul
intimately united to the Crucified will be able to transmit
even to those who are far away the joy and richness of the

Love for Christ is inevitably linked to love for his
Church, guided and animated by the power of the Holy Spirit,
in which each of us has a role and a mission to accomplish.
Dear priests, dear men and women religious, different are
the tasks which are entrusted to you and the charisms of
which are you are interpreters, but may the spirit with
which implement them be always one, so that your presence
and your work within the Christian people, become an
eloquent witness to the primacy of God in your life. Was not
this what everyone perceived in St. Pio of Pietrelcina?

Permit me to speak a special word to the young people,
which I see are so many and so enthusiastic. Dear friends,
thank you for your warm welcome and for the heartfelt
sentiments your representative has expressed. I noticed that
the pastoral plan of your diocese, for the years 2007-2010,
devotes much attention to the mission regarding youth and
family and I am sure that from this attitude of listening,
encounter, dialogue and verification in which you are
committed, there will result an ever better care of families
and a timely hearing of the actual expectations of the
younger generation. I have present in mind the problems
facing you, dear young men and women, and which threaten to
stifle the enthusiasms typical of your youth. Among these,
in particular, I mention the phenomenon of unemployment,
which affects so many tragic young men and women from
Southern Italy. Do not lose heart! Be "young people of great
heart," as it has been repeated often this year since the
Diocesan Youth Mission, animated and guided by the Regional
Seminary of Molfetta last September. The Church does not
abandon you. Do not abandon the Church!

Your input is necessary in order to build living Christian
communities, and societies that are more just and open to
hope. And if you want to have "great hearts," seek the
school of Jesus. Just the other day we contemplated his
heart, great and full of love for humanity. He will never
abandon or betray your trust, he will never lead down
mistaken paths. Just like Padre Pio, be faithful friends of
the Lord Jesus, cultivating a daily relationship through
prayer and through listening to his word, the diligent
practice of the sacraments and the cordial membership in his
family, which is the Church. This must be the basis of the
program of life of each of you, dear young people, as well
as you, dear priests and of you, dear men and women
religious. To each and every one of you I assure my prayers
and implore the maternal protection of Holy Mary of Grace,
who watches over you from her shrine in which crypt lie the
remains of Padre Pio. I thank you very much, yet again, for
your welcome and I bless you all, together with your
families, communities, parishes and your entire diocese.



21 JUNE 2009


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Pop Benedict XVI
Vatican City

08.00 Departure by helicopter from the Vatican heliport for San Giovanni Rotondo  

San Giovanni Rotondo

09.15 Arrival at "Antonio Massi" stadium  
09.35 Private visit at the Shrine of "Santa Maria delle Grazie" and veneration of
the mortal remains of St Pio of Pietrelcina in the Crypt
10.30 Eucharistic Concelebration in the square in front of the Church of St Pio
of Pietrelcina
Homily of the Holy Father
  Recitation of the Angelus Domini in the square in front of the Church of
St Pio of Pietrelcina
Address of the Holy Father
16.45 Meeting with the sick, the medical staff and the board of managers
gathered in front of the main entrance of the Hospital Casa Sollievo della
Address of the Holy Father
17.30 Meeting with priests, men and women religious and young people
gathered in the Church of St Pio of Pietrelcina
Address of the Holy Father
18.15 Departure by helicopter from "Antonio Massa" stadium for the Vatican  

Vatican City

19.30 Arrival at the Vatican heliport  

Floral banner
Padre Pio was particularly fond of flowers
"God Bless You" message with Bible and floral background