Pope Spells Out Tasks of Delegate for Padre Pio's Shrine

Duties Include Overseeing Prayer Groups

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II outlined the tasks of the archbishop he named a year ago as papal delegate to the Italian Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo.

The pilgrimage center is one of the most prominent in the world, attracting 8 million people a year, more than Lourdes or Fatima.

In a letter addressed to Archbishop Domenico D’Ambrosio, of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, the Pope establishes that the papal delegate is also president of the foundation «Home for the Relief of Suffering — Work of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,» a hospital and assistance center established by the Capuchin (1887-1968).

The letter stipulates that Archbishop D’Ambrosio will be director general of the International Association of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups, which number 3,000 worldwide.

«It will be up to you, therefore, to orient the apostolate of these groups, giving suitable directives to its spiritual assistants, whether religious or diocesan priests,» John Paul II states.

«In regard to initiatives that go beyond the boundaries of the archdiocese, you will obviously be in touch with the ordinaries of the places concerned, agreeing with them on the activities that will be carried out in the respective local churches,» the text continues.

The Pope points out some functions the archbishop will have to carry out at the shrine. Among those tasks: preaching and religious education of the faithful, and fostering works of the apostolate, «with special attention to those that are connected with the figure of Padre Pio.»

«The pastoral care of pilgrims who arrive at San Giovanni Rotondo» also comes under the papal delegate, «making use of the contribution of the Capuchin community.»

The Holy Father praised the work carried out by the Capuchin community of San Giovanni Rotondo, and requested its «fruitful collaboration» with the archbishop.

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