The winter rains that poured down upon the Inland and Desert communities in late January subsided just in time for the opening of the National Padre Pio Relic Tour in the San Bernardino Diocese.

The National Centre for Padre Pio, in collaboration with the Order of Malta, San Bernardino Area, brought a relic glove of Padre Pio to Sacred Heart Church in Palm Desert. The national tour, which began on January 23, 2024, commemorates and celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Beatification of Padre Pio. This extraordinary opportunity marks the first time in many years that the Centre has taken a relic on the road for the public. Each year, the Centre hosts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world who venerate the relics of Padre Pio in Barto, PA, the “Home of Padre Pio in the USA.”

A full day of veneration was held for the public, beginning immediately after morning Mass. For four hours, parishioners and visitors streamed through the church to view and venerate the glove that had been worn by St. Pio during the time he served as a Capuchin priest. As many know, Padre Pio wore gloves because he bore the wounds of the stigmata for most of his life.

In the early afternoon, the entire student population from Sacred Heart School, along with teachers and school staff (about 600 in all) listened to a talk by Corrie Campbell, DM and the Centre’s Chief Development Officer. Campbell related her personal story of Padre Pio’s intercession while undergoing cancer treatment over the past few years. Each grade was then given the opportunity to approach the relic and offer a prayer.

The evening session brought devotees in droves, with the line to venerate the relic winding through the aisles of the church. The relic was flanked by members of the Knights of Columbus’ Padre Pio Council, who served as honor guards throughout the day, while visitors filed through or occupied the pews to continue praying to the Saint of the New Millennium. In addition to the student group, over 1,800 people were in attendance that day to pray and pay tribute to one of the most popular saints of our time.

“We are so very grateful to open up the Padre Pio Relic Tour on the West Coast,” said Betty Fernandez, Sacred Heart Parish Operations Manager. “This was a huge, beautiful event and we are extremely humbled and blessed to have been selected as the first location for the tour.”

Representatives from the National Centre for Padre Pio will return to the San Bernardino Diocese after Easter with more opportunities for relic veneration for the faithful. Dates, times, and locations will be forthcoming.

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” – Padre Pio