Relics of St. Pio make special visit to Wichita

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The relics of a beloved Catholic Saint are on display at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. 

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina become well known during World War I when stigmata appeared on his body. Stigmata are marks on the body that are similar to the wound Jesus Christ received during his crucifixion.

“Padre Pio drew a crowd in his life and even in death, he draws quite a crowd,” said Father Adam Kieter of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Saint Pio died in the 1960’s and now his relics are taking a tour across the northern hemisphere; only appearing at 40 locations, the downtown Wichita cathedral was chosen as one of the stops.

“For the majority of the people here, this is a big deal,” said Ponca City, Oklahoma resident Maria Tate.

Tate traveled the some 70 miles just to see the relics.

“This is just like being close to Padre Pio and getting to know him,” Tate said.

Father Kieter says that relics got their start thousands of years ago when Catholics were persecuted because of their religion. Those of that faith were required to hide while they practiced their religion and did so in the catacombs where the bodies of Catholics Saints were laid to rest. The idea is that being in the presence of those bodies helped people focus on the lives and virtues of the deceased saints, which brought them closer to god. That tradition continues to this day.

“I see people coming in and they are visibly moved,” said Father Kieter. “Padre Pio is one of those saints that is extraordinary in the history of the church, he is very well known all throughout the world.”

The relics are on display Friday, April 13, 2018 from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception at 430 North Broadway. A mass in honor of Saint Pio will be held at 7:00 p.m.

It is expected that several thousand people will come to view the relics.

“Padre Pio, in his life, people would go and ask him to pray for them, they would ask for his blessing...Padre Pio would do that,” Father Kieter said. “So that is what happens now, even in death, people ask Padre Pio to pray for them for various different things and we believe that Padre Pio takes those prayer to Jesus Christ.”

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