Procession, Masses and plenty of food

Procession, Masses and plenty of food

Photos by Alan M. Dumoff

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Left photo: Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace celebrates Mass on Sunday, Sept. 25, at St. Padre Pio Parish, Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Vineland, during the parish Padre Pio Festival. Below, worshippers join in a rosary procession to the St. Padre Pio Shrine on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Two celebrations last week in the Diocese of Camden marked the feast day of St. Padre Pio, a 20th-century Italian Capuchin monk and mystic who was canonized in 2001 and is remembered for bearing the stigmata, the wounds of Christ.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, 150 worshippers joined in a 7 p.m. rosary procession outside the St. Padre Pio Shrine in Minotola. Father Frederick Clement, M.S.C.C. led the procession, with Father Alfred Mungujakisa of St. Thomas, Brigantine. During the evening, worshippers shared the ways in which the saint has responded to their prayers.

St. Padre Pio devotees came out to “not only be healed, but to be a part of the faith community,” said Father Clement.

A few days later, on Sunday, Sept. 25, St. Padre Pio Parish, held their ninth annual festival in the saint’s honor at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Vineland.

The celebration started with Mass at 11 a.m., celebrated by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace. Concelebrating were Father Peter Saporito, pastor; Father Ermelindo DiCapua, a Capuchin who was a friend of St. Padre Pio, and also the homilist for the Mass; and Minister Provincial James McCurry, leader of the Conventual Franciscan Friars for the Eastern United States, Ireland, Scotland and England.

Following the Mass, there were blessings with relics of St. Padre Pio, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Mother Pauline.

At 2 p.m., there was a Mass in Italian.

Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. As a Capuchin, he was a famed confessor and preacher and had a widespread reputation as one whose prayers were effective in procuring miraculous cures. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1999 and canonized him in 2002.

After worship there was recreation for the more than 2,000 who came via tour busses, inside the diocese, or in cars with out-of-state license plates, who were treated to a feast that included sausage and peppers, porchetta, Italian water ice, homemade desserts, and cappuccino. Children’s games, live music, and a fresh produce stand were also on hand.

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