Part four

The last years

1958     On July 30, 1958 the books written about Padre Pio were put in the "Index Librorum Prohibitorum" (Index of forbidden books).
1960    On May 9, 1960 started the tape recording of Padre Pio's conversations. It was stopped after several weeks.   On July 30, 1960 Mons.Maccari came as Visitor Apostolicus.
  New restrictions were applied to Padre Pio's ministry.
  A gate was built to limit access to Padre Pio,   and the contacts with the faithful were limited. 
    Padre Pio was ordered to celebrate Mass in no more than thirty minutes.     
1961  On November 19, 1961 Padre Pio transfers the property of the hospital to the Holy See.
  See the video of the last Mass of Padre Pio, with original sound
1968         On September 23, 1968 at 2:30 AM Padre Pio died.
  "My true mission will begin after my death." "When I am in heaven I will be able to do more". “Heaven is total joy, continuous joy. “
  The funeral through the streets of San Giovanni Rotondo         
                While Padre Pio was alive, a new church of Saint Mary of the Graces had been consecrated on July 1, 1959,  to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims.
1968   Padre Pio was placed in the crypt of St. Mary of the Graces, were he stayed for fifty years until 2008.   
1987    Pope John Paul II visited Padre Pio's grave on May 27, 1987
1995 Consiglia (Lina) De Martino in 1955 recovered from a large rupture of left thoracic duct, with emission of half a gallon of lymphatic fluid in the area. The medical committee declare the healing scientifically inexplicable, and the theological committee attributed the healing to the intercession of Padre Pio. Pope John Paul II accepted the recommendations of the committees and set a date for Padre Pio to be proclaimed Blessed.
1999 Padre Pio was proclaimed blessed on May 2, 1999 in St. Peter's Square.
2000 Matteo Pio Colella at age 8 recovered from a terminal comatose stage of septic shock. The medical committee declare the healing scientifically inexplicable, and the theological committee attributed the healing to the intercession of Padre Pio. Pope John Paul II accepted the recommendations of the committees and set a date for the proclamation of sainthood.
2002 Padre Pio was proclaimed saint on June 16, 2002 in St. Peter's Square.  
2004   On July 1, 2004 there was consecrated, and dedicated the new San Pio church designed by architect Renzo Piano.
   The immense roof skin is finished in pre-patinated copper with a supporting structure of wood and limestone.
    The materials are local Apricena stone, wood and glass. 
    The enormous stained glass window is composed of 84 panels, representing scenes from the Apocalypse.
    The Eucharist chapel has the tabernacle sculpted from a solid 4 tons stone of lava from Mount Etna.
The arches are arranged in an inner and an outer circle. The inner ring originates where the altar is located.
Since the spans of the arches steadily decrease, with the decreasing radius of the circle, a spiral shape is created that is reminiscent of a snail’s shell.
The radial structure brings the assembly as close as possible to the altar.
Built in a highly seismic area can withstand quakes 6 times stronger than the ones ever registered in the area.
The inside is divided in 3 sections, with the same flooring as the outside. The church can seat 7000 people and many more standing.
The confession hall has 31 confessionals. The large outside area slopes gently down towards the church, acting like an amphitheater for 30 thousand people.  
          The "bell tower" is a row of 9 pillars with a bell hung between each of them. The bells were made by "Fonderia Marinelli". The “bell tower” lies on top of the wall supporting the colonnade. Each bell is dedicated to a saint. The third bell is dedicated to Padre Pio. On the pillars are 8 eagles with the wings spread, flying in the direction of the church. The stone Cross (Renzo Piano) is high more than 120’, tapering from base to top. The horizontal arm spans 27’.
The organ Pinchi is the largest ever made in Italy 11m high, 10m wide and 6m deep. 4 keyboards of 61 notes, 78 registers, 5814 pipes.
          The wall that supports the church's outside square forms a colonnade giving a cloister effect.
The outside is lined to the north by 24 ancient olive trees and a 12 tiers stream cascading towards the church, eventually emptying in the baptismal font.
       Panoramic view of the hospital, convent and churches.

2008  On February 28, 2008 the  block of green marble was removed and the seals of the casket verified and broken.


2008   The casket was opened. The body removed and placed in a crystal and silver urn.

         On April 24, 2008 the body of Padre Pio was put on display.
2009  On June 21, 2009 pope Benedict XVI visited the San Pio church and also blessed the crypt.       
      The marble plaque remembers the visit of pope Benedict XVI.
2010     On April 19, 2010, Padre Pio's casket was moved to his definitive resting place, in the golden crypt.
      The crypt is semi circular, around a large pillar. The lower church can seat 500, with 500 more standing.
           The ceiling of the crypt is covered with thin gold sheets.
              General view of the crypt.
          The casket can be seen though a opening in the shape of the side wound.
              The pillar containing the tomb of Padre Pio.
   The mosaics on the walls of the crypt  are an original production by the atelier of Marko Ivan Rupnik, an artist, theologian, Jesuit Priest from Slovenia.
The scenes depicted are from the lives of Padre Pio, St. Francis, and from the Gospel.
   1     2     3     4      5     6     7     8      9         
  10      11       12          13                   1 Padre Pio answering mail      2 Padre Pio visiting cardinal Mindszenty in prison without leaving the convent     3 Padre Pio in fellowship with friars    4 The Prayer Groups      5 Padre Pio blesses professionals   6 Padre Pio celebrates Mass alone by disposition of the Holy Office    7 Padre Pio prays to Christ crucified     8 Padre Pio fights an ugly giant   9 Padre Pio sick at home taken care of by his parents   10 Padre Pio on the Cross with Christ   11 Padre Pio "Alter Christus"   12 Mary Pyle greeting Padre Pio at the gate of heaven    13 The hospital Casa Sollievo (Home for the Relief of Suffering)
    1     2    3     4    5    6    7    8    9  
   10     11    12     13    14      1 An angel plays music for St. Francis    2 St. Francis presents the 2nd and 3rd orders of Franciscans   3 St. Francis with the sultan Saladin   4 St. Francis transforms water in wine   5 St. Francis sends the friars to preach  6 St. Francis tempted by the devil   7 St. Francis at the entrance of St. Michael's shrine      8   St. Michael with St. Francis   9 St. Francis at St. Damien's church    10 St. Francis embraces the leper    11 The baptism of St. Francis   12 Chariot of fire      13 St. Francis brings bread to a fasting friar   14 St. Francis stripped of his possessions
   1       2     3    4   5    6    7    8     9   
  10     11     12     12     13      14       15      16    
  17     18          19        1 Jesus in the garden   2 Jesus on the Cross   3 Jesus with the adulteress    4 Jesus with the leper   5 Jesus sad over Jerusalem   6 Jesus chasing the merchants from the temple  7 Jesus baptized by John the Baptist   8 Jesus with two disciples of John the Baptist     9 Jesus tempted by the devil    10 Jesus found in the synagogue by his parents     11 Jesus expelled from the synagogue   12 Fleeing to Egypt   13  Thomas examines the wounds   14 Jesus with Lazarus, Martha and Mary in Bethany      15 The Nativity    16 Crucifix     17 Christ in glory    18 The Annunciation  19 The three young men in the furnace 
    In Padre Pio's handwriting: "Confidate e sperate nei meriti di Gesù e così anche l'umile argilla diventerà oro finissimo da risplendere nella reggia del Re dei cieli."  ("Confide and hope in the merits of Jesus, so even the humble clay will become extra fine gold to shine in the palace of the King of heaven.")


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