Friday, March 9, 2012

Lenten Talk: Padre Pio

Tonight I had the beautiful experience of visiting St. Rita's Parish on Staten Island with two girlfriends to attend a Lenten talk on St. Pio of Pietrelcina, (Padre Pio).  The evening was a remarkable reminder of the reasonableness and the universality of our faith.

A few things moved me deeply about the evening.

First,  the lecture on the Catholic mystic was given by a woman of science: Dr.  Maria Teresa Landi, M.D., PhD., a senior investigator with the National Cancer Institute. (pictured at left) Her parents, both physcians, worked side by side with Padre Pio.

How awesome to hear a scientist, a woman of reason, talk so openly about the miracles her own parents experienced during a working life spent with Padre Pio. The first happened when her mother, who was contemplating a career in medicine, went to the priest for confession. He told the young lady, whom he had never met, her sins and her struggles - before she had said a word. Dr. Landi talked about Padre Pio's bilocation and his stigmata, and the scent of flowers that accompanies his miracles, including one she experienced just a few years ago.

Second, I was moved that such a wide range of people attended this talk: of all ages and many cultures and walks of life.

Finally, as Fr. Richard Veras, unveiled the new statue of Padre Pio, it moved me deeply to pray among so many strangers. While I didn't know most of the people in the chapel, we all recited the same prayers.

Sometimes, to be a Catholic in our country is to feel marginalized and counter-cultural. Tonight, I felt buoyed by my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you, Dr. Landi and Padre Pio.


  1. Ive met two people who attented his masses, they have the same story of his foreknowledge and sanctity.What a Blessing he always shares and gives to those who turn to him for help!

  2. St Rita's on Staten Island is my parish! I live about four blocks away. I had to miss this. I love the Lenten series that Fr. Veras puts out. I have a small child and am not always free to go off. By the way, Fr. Veras gives the best homilies. He's a joy to listen to. Was this a special trip to Staten Island or are you from here?

  3. @Manny: Small world, eh?! I am part of the lay movement, Communion and Liberation and Fr. Veras is the chaplain. That said, I do not know him terribly well because I live in New Jersey and have a CL community here. But at larger events I attend, he often is in a key role.
    As for his homilies, I do believe I heard he was trained by the author of Magnificat Mag. or some such thing. Very talented homilist indeed.

    1. Thanks. I have seen Fr Veras published in Magnificant.