“Stay with me, Lord, for you are my light, and without you, I am in darkness.” These words are from a Prayer after Communion by Padre Pio. He was a remarkable priest who lived in Italy and was never too busy to see the countless people who came to him.
As a young man, Francesco Forgione became a Catholic priest in 1910 and took the name Pio. Many people came to celebrate Mass with this holy man. Padre Pio spent hours sharing God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He blessed the people who were sick who came daily to see him.
Person of Prayer
Padre Pio was a person of prayer in all things. He asked people to pray because “the world needs prayer.” We, too, are called to pray each day for our needs and the needs of other people. We are to be people of prayer in all we do.
Faith in God
Padre Pio had wounds on his hands and feet like the wounds of Jesus, which made life a struggle for him. He was a humble person who always trusted God. He died in 1968 and people came from all over the world to attend his funeral. He was canonized a saint in 2002.
What Can We Do?
* Let’s pray for others by making a prayer tree on our wall. We can cut out paper leaves for the tree and write on them the names of people who need our prayers, such as those who are sick. We will pray for them each time we gather.
* Let’s read together the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 and discuss asking forgiveness of God and other people. Then we can role-play asking forgiveness with different scenarios, like when someone does not tell the truth or is mean to another person.
* Let’s help people who are sick. We can collect children’s books and give them to a children’s hospital. Although volunteers come in to read stories to the children, they need books the children will enjoy.
Loving God, help us to be people of prayer like St. Padre Pio. May we love you with all our hearts, like he did, and serve others in your name. Guide our lives that we may live always as people of faith. Amen.
Patricia Mathson has many years of experience in faith formation as a DRE and holds a Master of Religious Education degree. She is the author of many books including 70 Sacrament Starters for Children (Twenty-Third Publications).
This article first appeared in Catechist magazine, August 2010.
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