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The final Mass of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, affectionately known as Padre Pio, was caught on video. It captures some of the last hours of his life, as he passed away early in the morning the next day.
Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, to a devout Catholic family in Pietrelcina, Italy. At the age of 15, he joined the Capuchin Friars, and eventually became a priest with the order. Throughout his life, Padre Pio was known as a mystic who also experienced the stigmata. Many miracles and wonders have been attributed to him, including reports of healing, soul-reading, levitation, and even bi-location.
In the 1960s, Padre Pio, who had suffered from health problems throughout his life, was advanced in years and weak with fatigue, but still continued to say daily Mass and to hear 50 confessions a day.
On Sept. 22, 1968, one day after the 50th anniversary of him receiving the visible stigmata, Padre Pio was supposed to celebrate a Solemn Mass for the pilgrims present but asked his superiors if he could instead celebrate a Low Mass because of his fatigue. However, after seeing the number of pilgrims, Padre Pio decided to celebrate a Solemn Mass – the one seen in the footage below – in spite of his failing health.
That night, it became clear that Padre Pio only had a few hours left to live. In the early hours of September 23, Padre Pio called his superior to his room and asked to make his confession, as well as to renew his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He quietly mouthed the words to the Rosary, and according to some accounts, just before he died, Padre Pio said he saw “two mothers” – believed to be the Blessed Mother and his own earthly mother.
The final cause of his death was a heart attack, and those present said that he was immediately healed of the stigmata wounds after he died.
His body has remained partially incorrupt years after his death and was sent to Rome in February as a special initiative for the Jubilee of Mercy. St. Padre Pio was canonized by Pope John Paul II, who knew the Capuchin friar personally, in 2002.
This fall, the Archdiocese of Boston announced that Padre Pio’s heart will be coming to Boston for the faithful to venerate on his feast day. It is the first time a major relic of the saint has left Italy.
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