Saint’s heart gathers devotees together

USING the aid of a walker, Alfonso Suarez, 61, stood in line waiting for the relic of San Pedro Pio to arrive at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral yesterday.He and his wife were among a huge crowd of devotees

USING the aid of a walker, Alfonso Suarez, 61, stood in line waiting for the relic of San Pedro Pio to arrive at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral yesterday.

He and his wife were among a huge crowd of devotees who braved the heat of the sun outside the cathedral, hoping to get near the saint’s relic that they believed could cure them of their illnesses.

The relic is the saint’s uncorrupted heart encased in glass and displayed near the entrance of the church.

“My prayer is to get healed of my sickness,” said Suarez, a resident of Barangay Hipodromo, Cebu City.

For two years now, Suarez has been suffering from a kidney problem. He is also diabetic and hypertensive.

A mechanical engineer, Suarez used to work with the National Power Corp.

San Padre Pio is known to show his miraculous powers to people who are kind and generous to others.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said San Pedro Pio’s heart is a heart that is filled with love for God.

Palma urged devotees to not only pray for good health but also for peace in the country.

In his homily during a mass, Palma said the relic’s visit is timely considering the spate of killings in Cebu recently.

“Our dream is to have peace since it’s embarrassing that we are a cradle of Christianity yet we have many killings here,” Palma said.

Palma said the relic’s visit is symbolic because last Sept. 20 was the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the wounds in Padre Pio’s body that resembled the wounds of Christ.

Last Sept. 23 was also the 50th anniversary of Padre Pio’s death.

Palma expressed happiness for the crowd that showed up to see the relic.

The line of devotees from the church reached D. Jakosalem and Legaspi Sts.

At noon today, the relic will be transferred to the IEC Pavilion in Barangay Mabolo after a 10:30 a.m. farewell mass at the cathedral to be officiated by Msgr. Ruben Labajo, team moderator at the cathedral.

The relic will stay at the IEC Pavilion until dawn of Sunday. Then it will be flown to Davao.

The Philippines is the fourth country that the relic visited after the US, Paraguay and Argentina. (SCG)