THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO; No.1, Jan-Feb 2007
AND AN UPDATE. . .
Since the above article was written, Saint Padre Pio's body was
exhumed and shown to the public in the crypt, from April 2008
until September 2009. Because of the continuing stream of people waiting to view Padre Pio, during that time the evening Rosary was moved to the church upstairs. At the close of the public viewing, Padre Pio's body was enclosed in a silver casket-reliquary, but remained in the crypt. On April 10th, the Friars of Our Lady of Grace announced that San Pio's body would be transferred on April 19th, 2010 to the new San Padre Pio church, built by architect Renzo Piano.
We have been 'attending' this Rosary regularly on the internet;
saying a Rosary before our Padre Pio's mortal remains feels like saying it with him, and would please him, I think, knowing how much he loved the Rosary and asked us to say it always. It was his weapon. "Tell them [his spiritual children] that I give them all my soul, so long as they persevere in prayer and doing good."
There is always, to my eye, something going on during this
special Rosary, something subtle, even if only a certain expression on a face. When Padre Ludovico leads the Rosary, for instance, his voice and face-language combine the leader and shepherd in him with the humble member of the congregation that he also is, for more often he is one of 'us' sitting on the bench against the wall of the crypt. You can tell him by his fluffy white beard. He used to lead the Rosary every evening from the altar in the crypt, but now the Rosary is led from a lectern, and when Padre Ludovico leads, he still fingers his Rosary on the surface of the lectern, as he used to do at the altar. His voice is strong and inspires a strong response from the people. Padre Laborde introduced hymns to Mary at the end of each Rosary, and sings them. Padre Ermelindo's
strong baritone sound when he sings, came as a wonderful surprise, holding the notes. And he regularly signs off with a blessing in English, for which we reach out across the ocean and thank him. . . .
On the technical side, there seem to be different cameramen. Today, January 14, 2010, there was one who gave us some marvelous close-ups of Padre Ludovico and his hands fingering the rosary beads. We see lots of hands with dangling rosaries, lots of praying faces. But today something special happened; the camera kept returning to a wonderful little boy I've admired for a long time. He is always with a young woman with large eyes -- I assume his mother -- who wears slender, rectangular-ish glasses. When you look at this little dark-haired boy, you see the essence of what Padre Pio loved about children. There is innocence and purity, sweet and unaware of anything but the beads of his rosary he so religiously fingers in his little hands. And the expression on his face is total involvement, total believing, total praying of his Hail Marys. But surprise of surprises....
This little boy seems just what Padre Pio desired in children. The inner being of this child so drawn to praying in Padre Pio's resting place is beyond comparison. In the final chapter of my coming book, Padre Pio and Children, I speak of the special qualities and graces of prayerful children. This is what I mean! In the old crypt, when the Rosary and the Litany of Loreto were finished, the boy got up, as he usually did, and by himself went over to the silver casket and knelt there. God must have smiled.
As a matter of fact, from time to time, there are beautiful children scattered among the adults. They stand out, not just because they are tiny in comparison, but because of the way they hold their rosaries --and pray. It's what the early 20th-century Italian educator and physician, Maria Montessori, called "the absorbent mind," what the very young child can take in through the senses. It's at work, here, with Padre Pio's presence. Something very important is going on in the recitation of the Rosary, and the children see and take part in it. And before our eyes, something very pure and important is happening, too....
Also visible, when he is in San Giovanni Rotondo, is Brady White with his long white fluffy beard and white streams of hair. He usually sat against the wall, like Padre Ludovico. Brady is the world's most famous Santa Claus. He makes his living in television, print, and live--as St. Nick. Take one look at him and you'll know why. In San Giovanni Rotondo, he is the popular host of Hello From San Giovanni Rotondo, the only English-speaking program on Teleradio Padre Pio.
AND, AN UPDATE ON THE UPDATE
APRIL 25, 2010
On April 19th, Padre Pio's body was moved to the mosaic crypt in
the lower church, called The Inferior Church of San Pio. This new
crypt of outstanding mosaics can only be described by 'seeing it.'
Try to do so on the live broadcasts on www.teleradiopadrepio.it
The Evening Rosary is currently continuing on schedule in its new
golden surroundings...Mass is being said before the tomb of Padre Pio, The faithful, the tour groups and the prayer groups are
coming...but the remarkable young boy has not returned.
We hope to see him again soon.
That's the good news. The bad news is that, although he is present just about every evening for long spells, sometimes he is not, although his mother is. So don't blame me if you 'go' there and don't see him. Everything comes to him who waits, so have patience. You might one day even get a cameraman who spans the faces in the crypt and picks up some beautiful souls in a simple expression of prayer and supplication. One can tell when sadness weighs heavily on a heart....
This little boy inspires. . . How could he ever realize how many hearts he has touched via Teleradiopadrepio?
The camera closed in on his adorable face a few weeks ago, two times, and I realized the cameraman -- and probably a lot of others -- had been captivated, too. I saw the beauty, something special placed inside the child, and I hoped the world AND time would not change the inner essence of this face, those sweetly-sad, sadly-sweet big dark eyes taking in and becoming part of this aura of prayer.