For the first time, the “incorruptible” heart of a celebrated saint will visit the Philippines this October. The particular relic of St Padre Pio, which seldom leaves a Capuchin monastery in Italy, will be in the country for at least 20 days, from Oct 6 to 26. The heart relic has only been to three countries — ten days in the United States; eight days in Paraguay, and five in Argentina.

 As reported by ucanews, Fr Joseline Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio, said the visit is a “time of grace” for Filipinos who will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country in 2021. The visit is doubly significant because this year marked the centennial of Padre Pio receiving the stigmata, one or more or the five wounds of Jesus, on Sept 20.  Fr. Gonda said that Padre Pio can be a role model for Filipino priests who are observing the “Year of the Clergy and the Consecrated Persons” this year.

An exclusive one-day veneration of the heart relic is being reserved for priests and religious at the different venues in the cities of Manila, Cebu, and Davao.