You know what they say. . .
With God anything is possible.
And with Padre Pio at your back, wanting prayer groups all over the world, coincidences of a divine order will happen...He used to say, And who is it who arranges the coincidences? ...similar words at various times. Padre Pio, of course, took his orders from God.
As you read this story of Magneli Villanueva of Monterrey, Mexico, a determined woman of faith with a will strong enough for five women, and how she formed the first (and only) officially registered Padre Pio Prayer Group of that city, one of the largest and most populous in Mexico (4 million people), please stress the words, "as it happened" each time you read them, and you'll know what I mean by "divine" coincidences.
The following article was published in THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO; English Edition, March-April 2007.
Note from JS: I don't think that it is absolutely necessary to have a Capuchin priest as Spiritual Director. Otherwise, many prayer groups could not form where there is no Capuchin priest available. However, Padre Pio did want a priest heading the group as a Spiritual Director--of that there is no doubt. The Statutes of the Prayer Groups specifically say:
The structure of the Prayer Groups is in full harmony with the Church's
hierarchical structure. It is absolutely necessary that each group have a
priest Spiritual Director, appointed by the Bishop and the guarantor of
the group's spiritual formation and adherence to the doctrine and
directives of the Magisterium of the Church.
In other words, if you don't have a priest leading your spiritual way, appointed by the Bishop, you're a private prayer group--all sincere prayer, of course, is beautiful and heard--but you're not an official Padre Pio Prayer Group, following his wishes, his dictums...and his prayerful intentions, for which he asks everyone's prayers. Remember, he said his real mission would begin after he was gone. . . The Padre Pio Prayer Groups are part of it . . . .
In the same Voice issue as Magneli's story, Fr. Ermelindo di Capua, the Assistant Editor of The Voice, and traveler to all parts of the world on behalf of Saint Padre Pio, wrote:
"The Prayer Groups were very close to Padre Pio's heart. Padre Pio in a letter he
wrote to Raffaelina Cerase reveals how he saw prayer as the highest apostolate
in the Church, and these words although addressed to her may easily be directed
to each one of us:
'Remember, moreover, . . . one can promote God's glory and work for the salvation
of souls by means of a truly Christian life, by praying without ceasing that "His
kingdom come," That His name "be hallowed," that "We may not be led into
temptation" and that He "deliver us from evil." This is what you ought to do,
offering yourself continually to the Lord for this purpose. Pray for the wicked, pray
for the lukewarm, pray even for fervent souls, but pray especially for the supreme
Pontiff, for all the spiritual and temporal needs of holy Church, our most tender mother.
A special prayer also for all those who are working for the salvation of souls and for
God's glory in the mission to many infidels and unbelievers. I exhort you once more
to devote yourself entirely and induce as many others as you can to devote themselves
to the ends I have already explained to you. You may be perfectly sure that this is the
highest form of apostolate that anyone can carry on in the Church of God.' (Letters II, p. 77) "
If you feel you have the spirit and will to form a Padre Pio Prayer Group, think of Magneli... Keep a journal,
note all that happens, and have fun watching it grow....
You may even contact Magneli at padrepio.org.mx/
Spanish-speaking apostolates especially may want to contact her She wants Spanish-speaking Padre Pio prayer groups to grow in the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America and everywhere. All are welcome to contact her.
FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO FORM A PADRE PIO PRAYER GROUP,
(All else) firstname.lastname@example.org