Saints & Sacraments: Pio of Pietrelcina

Share this article:


A patron saint for Penance and Reconciliation

Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio, was a popular Franciscan priest and beloved confessor. His spiritual life was centered on the Eucharist, prayer, and the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Most of his day was spent in the confessional. People waited for hours, days, and sometimes weeks to confess to Padre Pio. He changed people’s lives and filled their hearts with joy and peace. He led countless individuals to God through his holiness and compassion for others.

Pio’s life

Feast Day: September 23
Patron saint of confessors, stress relief, Pietrelcina

Padre Pio possessed many charisms, such as the ability to read hearts, prophecy, bilocation, and physical healings. His most famous charism — the marks of the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) — brought him pain, embarrassment, and worldwide attention.

His popularity enabled him to establish a great hospital, the Home for the Relief of Suffering, in San Giovanni Rotondo. He formed prayer groups to spiritually support the work of the hospital. Today, Padre Pio’s prayer groups exist throughout the world.

During his lifetime, he experienced many trials and sufferings — among them poor health, false accusations, and Vatican investigations. He bore these hardships with dignity and total trust in God. Padre Pio offered his life of suffering for the conversion of souls.

Saint activities

What small sacrifice can you offer up to God today?

Padre Pio saw Christ in the sick and suffering. Pray for the sick in your parish and send them notes of encouragement.

Remember to pray to your guardian angel, just like Padre Pio did. Learn the Guardian Angel Prayer and pray it daily.

The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

The sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation — also called confession — provides a contrite penitent God’s mercy and peace. A sacrament of conversion and healing, it fills us with God’s grace. Frequent reception of the sacrament strengthens our faith and helps us to grow in holiness. One must confess serious sins at least once a year.

The priest, acting in the name of Jesus Christ, absolves us (frees us) from our sins and reconciles us to God and the Church. Reparation must be made for the confessed sins, either through prayer or actions. These acts are called our “penance.”

We experience the great gift of God’s love in this sacrament. It is a source of joy for all the faithful.

Sacrament activities

Read the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. What does this parable teach us about God’s love and mercy?

God’s laws teach us how to love and live faithfully. Prior to confession, make an examination of conscience by reviewing the Ten Commandments.

Take-home activities

You can pray the Act of Contrition anytime. Add the Act of Contrition to your bedtime prayer routine.

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
—Padre Pio

Padre Pio loved the Blessed Mother. He prayed several Rosaries a day. Set aside one evening each week to pray the Rosary with your family.



BARBARA YOFFIE, MRE, is a director of religious education and saint enthusiast. She is the author of the Saints and Me! series from Liguori Publications.


This article was originally published in Catechist, January 2020.

Share this article: