ROME, JUNE 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Hundreds of thousands of the faithful worldwide followed Padre Pio´s canonization, in addition to the crowds at the Vatican.
Argentines flocked to La Piedad Church, in the heart of Buenos Aires, for a solemn Mass in honor of the Capuchin friar.
The Philippines prepared for the canonization with a triduum, which began on Thursday and culminated in an eucharistic celebration today in Manila.
While John Paul II was proclaiming the new saint, the Tura Diocese in eastern India placed the cornerstone of a church, outpatient clinic and school complex dedicated to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
A parish in the Diocese of Gore, Chad, will be dedicated to Padre Pio and inaugurated in September. It will be the first church dedicated to the saint in Africa. Over the past few weeks, 300 villages of Gore prepared for the canonization by distributing prayers and the biography of Francesco Forgione´s (Padre Pio´s baptismal name).
Father Marciano Morra, secretary of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups (there are 2,700 worldwide), said: “We are seeing an awakening of consciences and a desire to pray. When the Prayer Groups were established, it was foreseen that participants would meet at least once a month. Instead, meetings are now taking place once a week.”