Program Released for Pope's Trip to Padre Pio Tomb

ROME, MAY 28, 2009 ( The Capuchins of San Giovanni Rotondo have announced the schedule for Benedict XVI’s June 21 trip to the tomb of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, popularly known as Padre Pio.

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The Pope will arrive that Sunday by helicopter at 9:15 a.m., and take the popemobile through the city until arriving to the Our Lady of Grace Sanctuary.

There, representatives of the community of Capuchin Friars Minor will welcome him, and he will have a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Father will also visit the first cell of the monastery, where Padre Pio died in 1968.

Then, the Pontiff will go to the crypt to pray before the tomb of the saint. There he will be accompanied only by Capuchins. He will light two candles before the tomb, symbolizing his apostolic visit and that of Pope John Paul II.

Benedict XVI will vest for Mass in the sacristy there and be transferred by popemobile to the Plaza of the Church of San Pio de Pietrelcina, where he will preside over a 10:15 Eucharistic celebration. After Mass, he will pray the midday Angelus in the same place.

At 4:45 p.m., the Holy Father will meet with directors, employees and patients of the hospital established by Padre Pio, the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza the «Home to Relieve Suffering.»

Afterward, the Pope will return to the Church of San Pio de Pietrelcina, where he will meet with priests, religious and youth.

The Pontiff will return to Rome by helicopter, arriving to the Vatican at 7:30.

Padre Pio was canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.

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