When Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Mercedes Tuason offered to launch in Manila the English version of the book, “A Spiritual Son is Born: Our Story with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,” in 2011, she must have been aware of the burden.
“Pray, hope, don’t worry!” This was the admonition of Padre Pio himself which Josie Bantug, the ambassador’s assistant, bore in mind as she looked for a translator of the book written originally in Spanish by Costa Rican Ambassador to the Holy See Fernando Sanchez Campos.
Ma. Lourdes Mendoza translated the book to English, and Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle obliged to write a foreword to the book. Bantug also got St. Pauls Publishing to print the English version with the guarantee that it would be a sellout.
And she might be right. Some 400 guests trooped to the Wack Wack Golf & Country Club last March 24 to attend the book launch.
“Thank you for the gift of Padre Pio!” said Cardinal Tagle. “If we belong to God, we are holy, we are saints. Let us all be virus of holiness.”
And Cardinal Tagle told the author “May your book influence others.”
In “A Spiritual Son Is Born: Our Story with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,” Ambassador Campos relates the dramatic story of the healing of his son and wife through the powerful intercession of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
Along the way, he describes how the difficult situation led them to God.
Campos traces all of this to St. Pio of Pietrelcina, the world-famous Franciscan saint.
“St. Padre Pio is putting us together, he is pulling the strings,” Ambassador Campos said, as he described how honored he was to be in the Philippines promoting his book.
“We are here to speak about God’s love and this is expressed in three ways: to help reinforce our faith, to share God’s graces knowing that Jesus is the best gift we can receive, and to know that the Lord is very persistent. The book is the result of obedience to the Holy Spirit.”
Relics of Padre Pio
The Work of the Saint’s Apostolate brought the relics of San Padre Pio to the launch, like his hair, the Rosary he blessed and most important, the glove he used to stem off the blood from the stigmata on his hands.
Guests, including Glenda Barretto of Via Mare who catered the event, venerated the relics.
Ramon Moreno and Theo Cruz, a Franciscan tertiary aspirant, attended to the sick who venerated the relics and asked for healing.
The Pious Worker Sisters of the Immaculate Conception founded by Venerable Francesco Antonio Marcucci is celebrating its 25th anniversary in the Philippines today with a Eucharistic celebration by Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Carmel Chapel in Camp Rigoberto Atienza in Libis, Quezon City. Mother General Maria Volpato is here from Italy for the celebration.
The order’s charism is education as it runs a parochial school in Calaca, Batangas. It’s also into the formation of youth in Dagupan City. Its battle cry is to “magnify the Lord with the help of Mary.”
Sr. Maria Adele Toccacel, the mother superior in the Philippines, is grateful the order has reached this far in the country. “We want to extend our gratitude to all our brothers and sisters who in one way or another supported us and encouraged us in our mission,” she said. “We are so happy to share our mission and charism here in the Philippines, particularly in Luzon.”
San Vicente Ferrer fiesta
The people of Odiongan, Romblon, are holding their novena of Masses in honor of San Vicente Ferrer until April 4.
They will celebrate their fiesta on April 5 with a Bishop’s Mass and the fluvial procession led by Msgr. Ernie Fetalino, parish priest, bringing the image of the saint into the sea.
It is a traditional practice of devotees to bathe the image during the bisperas and the water from the bath is gathered in bottle for healing.
The barrio of Buli in Taal, Batangas, also celebrates the feast of San Vicente Ferrer on April 5.
Lulu Gahol, who comes from Taal, told me how many people attend the fiesta Mass every year. Gahol said as a tribute to San Vicente, she would hold Christmas parties for poor children.