Close encounters with Padre Pio in the Confessional
Padre Pio spent most of his day hearing confessions.
From 1918 to 1923 he heard confessions fifteen to nineteen hours a day.
During the 40's and 50's about eight hours a day.
In 1962, 83.035 women and 19.837 men registered for confession with Padre Pio: an average of about 273 per day.
In 1967 Padre Pio confessed about 15.000 women and 10.000 men. An average of 70 people per day.
People would come to him from all over the world.
He heard the confessions in the old church, even after the new church was built.
Women waiting their turn to confess
Padre Pio in the confessional of women.
Padre Pio's confessional as it has been preserved.
Padre Pio confessing a child
Padre Pio confessing a man.
For the women there was a confessional. The men confessed in the old sacristy.
The average confession made to Padre Pio lasted only three minutes. Padre Pio heard a total of about five million confessions.
Padre Pio demanded that each confession be a true conversion. No excuses, no insincerity, but frankness, honesty, firm resolution.
Padre Pio confessed the men in the old sacristy.
It was like being before the judgment of God.
When he was a theology student, Padre Pio’s health was so bad that his professor said to him: “Your health is not good, so you cannot become a preacher.
My hopes for you are that you will be a great and conscientious confessor." He was a prophet.
Padre Pio in the confessional.
Padre Pio had strong views on female fashions in dress. A sign read: "By Padre Pio’s explicit wish, women must enter his confessional wearing
skirts at least eight inches below the knees. It is forbidden to borrow longer dresses in church and to wear them for the confessional.”
Shorts, and short sleeves, even on children, were anathema.
Padre Pio hearing confessions of women.
Padre Pio's own words about confession.
"It is a tremendous responsibility to sit in the tribunal of the confessional."
"God runs after the most stubborn souls. They cost him too much to abandon them."
After a day of confessions: "Oh the souls! if you knew how much they cost!"
"The sight of so many souls who wish to justify their evil ways pains me, exhausts my brain, and tears at my heart."
"Before reproaching a soul, I suffer it first. But it is not I who act, but He who is in me and above me."
"Sin to confession to sin without repentance is a deception of conscience; in essence a sacrilege."
"Among you I am your brother, on the Altar I am your victim, in the confessional I am your judge."
"Confession is the purification of the soul."
"Confession should be made no later than every eight days."
"Do not dwell on sins that have been already confessed. Jesus has forgiven them."
"Place a tombstone on the confessed sins, just as the Lord has done."
"I want to help Jesus in the tremendous task of man's salvation".
"The mercy of God, my son, is infinitely greater than your
Padre Pio in the confessional.
Close encounter of the special kind at the time of confessing with Padre Pio
Pasquale Urbano of Foggia had been walking with two canes after falling from a carriage.
After the confession in 1919 Padre Pio said: "Get up and go. Throw away those canes". He walked away to everyone's amazement.
A women was preparing to confess to Padre Pio. The night before she had eaten several figs, and decided to confess it as gluttony.
"Father I have another sin to confess, but I can't remember it." "That's ok. Just a few figs."
When her turn to confess came, a woman kneeled in the confessional but felt terrorized and couldn't utter a single word. "Do you want me to talk for you?"
He said word by word all the things I had prepared to say, and than added "I will be you spiritual father."
A priest preparing to confess, was thinking: This spiritual life at times it's like to clutch at straws.
After the confession, Padre Pio said smiling: "So you think that this spiritual life at times it's like to clutch at straws."
On a May 25, a woman wanted to say happy birthday to Padre Pio, but he was too far away, so she just thought about it.
Few days later, at the end of the confession: "Happy birthday. Sorry I couldn't say it the 25th." "But you did already."
Padre Pio was confessing, and a woman in line was just told that there will be no more confessions for the day. She had a thought: "Father, send me a blessing, I need it."
Instantly Padre Pio turned the head from the grille of the confessional, looked at her, made a blessing sign and than turned his face to the grille.
Carlo Campanini went to confession to Padre Pio in 1950. Padre Pio said: "Begin in 1936."
'But I confessed few days ago.' "I told you to begin in 1936." Campanini remembered what he had done in 1936 and had been ashamed to confess.
He concluded: 'That confession changed my life, and I haven't missed daily Mass since than.'
Campanini was on a tour in Brazil and went to Sao Paolo Cathedral for confession and communion. There was a very long line for confession.
Campanini prayed Padre Pio for help. The door from a nearby confessional opened and a priest called him in Italian:
"Vieni (come)." He confessed and towards the end he could smell the typical fragrance of Padre Pio.
Dr. Ezio Saltamerenda convinced sculptor Francesco Messina in 1949 to visit Padre Pio with him. Padre Pio asked if he wanted to confess.
He said maybe but I'm not prepared. Padre Pio: "Don't say anything to me. Just answer."
'Than he began to list my sins with incredible precision. It was as though he could read my soul'.
Luisa Vario at the confession. 'I don't know what to say'. "Than I will speak". 'He proceeded to tell me my whole life's story.'
"Do you have something to add?" 'I mentioned a sin that he had not told me.' "That's the one I was waiting for."
Angelina Serritelli from USA came to Padre Pio for Confession and First Communion knowing only English.
'I confessed and we understood each other. He spoke in English."
Giuseppe Canaponi of Firenze, on May 21, 1945 was hit by a truck while driving his motorcycle. He had multiple fractures from skull to feet, including 5 fractures of left femur.
Multiple surgeries. Walking on crutches since. In 1948 confessed with Padre Pio. He walked away normally. without realizing it. He went back to thank Padre Pio.
"I didn't do the miracle. I only prayed for you. The Lord healed you."
Gaetana Caccioppoli was told that today was her turn to confess with Padre Pio, but in reality her turn was a week away.
On the church's square she said 'If you are Padre Pio send your friar right away to call me'. Not even 5 minutes had passes that a friar came to her from the church:
'Are you signora Caccioppoli? Padre Pio is waiting for you. He says that it's your turn to confess.'
"Tell me your sins." 'I'm not prepared. I'd better leave and come back when I'm ready.'
Back to confession three years later. Padre Pio looking at him:"You took three years to prepare!"
Amelia, 27 years old, born blind, after the confession asks Padre Pio to be able to see. He says "Have faith and pray a lot."
At that point she saw the face of Padre Pio, and the arms with the half gloves. For the first time she was able to see.
She thanked Padre Pio. He said: "Let's thank the Lord."
In 1919 a 14 years old boy of the area confessed with Padre Pio. He had severe deformations on the back due to typhoid fever at age 4.
After the confession Padre Pio touched him with the wounded hand. The back returned instantly normal.
After several hours of hearing confessions Padre Pio used to distribute
the Communion to the faithful who had just confessed.
Padre Pio wore he surplice and stole prepared on the gate of the confessional to distribute Communion.
Padre Pio and the Host
He was not dressed in Mass vestments, but in surplice and stole:
Padre Pio preparing to distribute Communion.
Communion to paralyzed Giacomo Gaglione, now Venerable
Padre Pio giving Communion to a child.
Few people were privileged to be baptized by Padre Pio.
Nicola Cocomozzi worked at the Post Office in San Giovanni Rotondo.
He saw Padre Pio every time he delivered an item requiring Padre Pio's signature.
Padre Pio baptizing the son of Nicola Cocomozzi
Padre Pio reading to the Cocomozzi parents the wishing words he has written on the Baptism Certificate.
Padre io baptizing his nephew Michele. Mary Pyle holds the child as the godmother.
Administering First Communion:
Piero Drioli about to receive the First Communion from Padre Pio.
Giuseppe (Bepi) Lombardi receiving the first Communion from Padre Pio.
Salvatore Lombardi at the altar with Padre Pio on October 31, 1966
Salvatore Lombardi receiving the first communion from Padre Pio
Detail of the certificate of first communion with the original signature of P. Pio Capp. (Padre Pio Cappuccino)
The Esposito wedding by Padre Pio.
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Close Encounters of the Special Kind with PADRE PIO: hallways, backyard; around the world, ecstasies; Purgatory, Guardian Angel, devil; Americans; confessional, baptisms, first Communions, weddings; Virgin Mary, Rosary; Wounds; Mass; himself, God, Jesus, Cross, Christmas, Church; spiritual children, meditation, prayer, Prayer Groups; child, novice, priest, soldier, fevers; first inquisition, Saint Mary of the Graces, Home for the Relief of Suffering (Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza); the most famous picture, children, blessings, at the ballots downtown, eating; second inquisition, last ten years, death; the Capuchin friars; entombed in first resting place, blessed, saint, exhumed, displayed, final resting place in golden crypt; mosaics of the life of Padre Pio, Jesus, Saint Francis of Assisi; fists class relics with certificates; original painting, original icon.