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Padre Pio relic heading to Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): For the first time, the incorruptible heart of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, will visit the Philippines The relic, which seldom leaves a Capuchin monastery in Italy, will be in the country for at least 20 days, from October 6 to 26.
Father Joselin Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio, said the Philippines will have the distinction of having the relic longer than any other country in which it has been exhibited in so far.
The heart relic has only been to three countries— 10 days in the United States, eight days in Paraguay and five in Argentina.
Father Gonda said the visit is a time of grace for Filipinos who will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country in 2021.
The visit is doubly significant because this year marked the centennial of Padre Pio receiving the stigmata, one or more or the five wounds of Jesus, on 20 September 1918. 
This year also marks 50 years since the saint’s death on 23 September 1968.
“The visit of the heart relic is a fitting epilogue to these two important events in the life of St. Padre Pio,” Father Gonda said.
He said Padre Pio can be a role model for Filipino priests who are, this year, observing the Year of the Clergy and the Consecrated Persons.
“Padre Pio can be an inspiration and challenge to us to have a heart like his, close to the Eucharistic and forgiving heart (of) the Lord,” the priest said.
A group of devotees will fetch and accompany the relic to the Philippines. It will also be accompanied by two Capuchin friars.

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