Every November 1st, Filipinos, Spaniards and Mexicans flock to cemeteries to pay homage to their buried love ones. But what we never really thought was that in the church Calendar, All Saints Day which is November 1st is a solemnity for all of the Church’s saints. The Dead is celebrated and prayed for on November 2. That is why all saint’s day is a time to celebrate and thank the Lord for the Gift of saints. Most of these saints helps us with our problems, whether in financial, health and family problems. That’s is why today, feast of all Saints day, OTWOMD launches its prime series about the Incorruptibles in which recipients of the awesome grace would be featured here, their lives and their incredible bodies perfectly preserved without the aid of natural or synthetic preservatives. For our opening salvo, we are featuring Padre Pio’s incorrupt body, exhumed last March 2008 and was found some parts of his body in total preservation after 40 years of being buried under the ground.
(From timesonline.co.uk, published March 3, 2008) The body of St Padre Pio, one of Italy’s most popular saints, was exhumed last night to be prepared for public veneration next month marking the 40th anniversary of his death and the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of stigmata on his hands and feet.
Capuchin friars at the sanctuary at San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy, where Padre Pio’s tomb is visited by seven million pilgrims annually, said that “parts of the body” had been found to be “intact”. Archbishop D’Ambrosio said the body was in “surprisingly good condition. As soon as we got inside the tomb we could clearly make out the beard. The top part of the skull is partly skeletal but the chin is perfect and the rest of the body is well preserved. The knees, hands, mittens and nails are clearly visible………If Padre Pio allows me, I might say he looks as though he just had a manicure”. The body would be placed in a glass covered coffin for veneration on 24 April for a period of “several months”.
The friars denied that the remains would be transferred from the sanctuary crypt to a new spacious and ultra modern church nearby at San Giovanni Rotondo designed by the world renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano.
The exhumation – the first time the tomb had been opened since Padre Pio’s death in 1968 – was approved by the Vatican despite opposition from some of the saint’s most ardent followers. Padre Pio’s relatives had threatened to take the local archbishop to court if the corpse was exhumed, and a group of devotees had also threatened legal action.
Padre Pio was canonised by the late Pope John Paul II in 2002. His image is displayed in piazzas, homes, shops, garages and vehicles throughout Italy. Monsignor Domenico D’Ambrosio, Archbishop of Manfredonia, said the Capuchin friar’s body had been exhumed “to check on its state and to carry out all the necessary work to guarantee the best conditions for its conservation.”
The exhumation of the saint, who was credited with over a thousand miraculous cures, had been approved by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Congregation’s Prefect, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, noted that the body of Pope John XXIII, who died in 1963, had also been exhumed when he was beatified, the step before sainthood. The body was found to be unusually well preserved.
Vatican officials said Padre Pio’s body had been injected with formalin for burial but “no special measures” were otherwise taken to preserve his body.
An Italian historian, Sergio Luzzatto, recently caused controversy with a book on Padre Pio in which he claimed to have found documents in the Vatican archives suggesting that Padre Pio may have faked his stigmata, the marks of the wounds of Christ, with acid, and also had “intimate and incorrect relations with women”.
Vatican officials say both allegations were fully taken into account in the beatification and canonisation process. Followers of Padre Pio believe he exuded “the odour of sanctity”, had the gift of bilocation (being in two places at once), healed the sick and could prophesy the future.
Italian reports said the exhumation had been carried out in the middle of the night to avoid possible protests and disruptions. The saint’s body had then been taken to a “secret location” to protect it both from protesters trying to retrieve it, and from “unscrupulous relic hunters”.
Romuald Matthieson: a.k.a. "bluepanjeet" has been writing in cyber space since 2005. In 2006, he jump-started his Catholic blogging a few years before the Catholic Church utilized social networks and blogs in spreading the Gospel. In 2007, in response to a realization of the growing need for Catholic Bloggers online, he officially launched his own self-hosted Catholic blog and called it "On The Wings Of My Dream" or simply OTWOMD which is a metaphor of his favorite psalm in the Bible, Psalm 63. Since then he has been blogging, (and sometimes podcasting) for the Catholic Church using his enthusiasm in the New Media, his inclination on visual and digital arts, his passion for the written word and his love for the Catholic Church. You can follow Rom's tweets on Twitter @rommatthieson