2002-06-23 The outpouring of people in Rome to celebrate
June 23, 2002
The outpouring of people in Rome to celebrate the solemn canonization of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16 surpassed all expectations, and the Church is using these days to ask for special favors from his heavenly intercessions. Our temporary shrine to the saint popularly known as Padre Pio is at the St. Jude altar next to the daily confessional, because St. Pio was as much as anything a confessor of souls. There has been a goodly increase in daily confessions in our parish and we have added confession times on Sunday. As our numbers grow, we may also increase the times of Sunday confession. I am grateful to our priests for their help. Recently, the Holy See put to rest a recent notion that confessions should not overlap with the celebration of the Mass. One must attend the full liturgy to receive Communion, but a recent instruction of the Holy See not only permits but ardently encourages the Sacrament of Penance to be celebrated in a part of the church as the Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered. Good confessions make good Communions. The Church has suffered in recent years from the sin of presumption, evident in laziness about going to confession.
One of the many blessings attached to the numerous weddings in our parish is the frequent abundance of beautiful flowers decorating the sanctuary. You will agree that they are different from the floral decorations at the funeral of the unrepentant Mr. John Gotti. The press gave the bizarre funeral rites for Mr. Gotti more publicity than the canonization of St. Pio. Crime and the glamour of iniquity fascinate the human imagination because all humans inherit the consequences of the first crime against God, the original sin of wanting to be gods. Pathetic were the silly people paying gaudy tribute to the gangster, and more pathetic is the fact that many of them received what passes these days for a Catholic education. A reporter for a major New York newspaper wrote that he carried a pink carnation to the wake and touched the coffin as a sign of respect. He could have done better by lighting a candle in front of our image of St. Pio. Evil can hypnotize but only grace can open our eyes to behold our Lord face to face "and not as a stranger."
Fr. George W. Rutler