Padre Pio´s Canonization Within Sight?

Commission Studies Cure of 7-Year-Old Boy

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 7, 2001 ( The Holy See might officially recognize a miracle attributed to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina before the end of the year, opening the way for his canonization in 2002.

A commission of doctors and scientists is now probing the scientifically inexplicable cure of 7-year-old Matteo Pio Colella, according to the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana.

If the judgment is positive, the case will be studied further by a commission of theologians, and later by a panel of cardinals and bishops. The Capuchin postulators of the cause hope that if all judgments are positive, John Paul II might canonize the friar of the stigmata next year.

On the night of June 20, 2000, Matteo Colella was admitted to the intensive care unit of the House of Relief hospital, with galloping meningitis. By the next morning, doctors had lost all hope for him. Additional surgery seemed pointless since nine of the boy´s vital organs had ceased to give signs of life.

Then, that night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo´s mother and some Capuchin friars of Padre Pio´s monastery, the child´s condition improved suddenly, startling the doctors.

When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: «Don´t worry, you will soon be cured.» At the same time, he felt the friar was transporting him in flight to Rome, to a hospital where a «rigid child with blue eyes and black hair» was lying, who was also cured through the blessed´s intercession.

The postulators of the cause are yet to verify this episode, however.

Francesco Forgione (Padre Pio´s baptismal name) was born in Pietrelcina, Italy, on May 25, 1887. He took his perpetual vows as a Capuchin friar in 1907, and was ordained a priest in 1910. In 1918, he received the stigmata of Christ´s passion. He died at 81, on Sept. 23, 1968.

John Paul II beatified the Capuchin on May 2, 1999, in the presence of 300,000 pilgrims.

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