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Thousands drawn to relic of St. Padre Pio


  • A woman venerates the relic of the heart of St. Padre Pio at Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell. The church was the first stop in a Sept. 21-23 tour of the relic to the Boston area. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
  • A Capuchin friar from the shrine of St. Padre Pio holds the relic for veneration at Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell. (Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy)
  • The reliquary with the heart of St. Padre Pio stands in Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell. (Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy)
  • Hundreds wait outside the archdiocese’s Pastoral Center in Braintree Sept. 22. (Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy)
  • People gather around the image of St. Padre Pio at the Cathedral Sept. 23. (Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy)
  • Cardinal O’Malley leads veneration after celebrating Mass for the feast day of St. Padre Pio. (Pilot photo/Mark Labbe)

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SOUTH END -- An evening Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Sept. 23 drew to a close the three day visit of a major relic of St. Padre Pio to the greater Boston area.

The relic of the saint's heart was brought to the area by the Capuchin Friars that run the Shrine of St. Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo. It was the first time a major relic of the saint had been outside of Italy.

From Sept. 21 to Sept. 23, the relic moved around the Archdiocese of Boston, stopping at several different sites. Each stop attracted hundreds, sometimes thousands of people who came to venerate the relic.

On Sept. 21, it was at Immaculate Conception Parish in Lowell, where Bishop Robert Hennessy celebrated a noon Mass. Later that day, the heart was brought to St. Leonard's Church in Boston's North End for veneration and a Mass celebrated by Bishop John Dooher.

On Sept. 22, the relic was brought to the archdiocese's Pastoral Center in Braintree, where an estimated 6,000 people came for veneration and a Mass celebrated by vicar general Bishop Peter Uglietto. That evening, the relic was transferred to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, where cathedral rector Father Kevin O'Leary celebrated a Mass in Spanish.

On Sept. 23 the relic remained at the cathedral, with Bishop Robert Reed celebrating a morning Mass. Cardinal O'Malley celebrated Mass at the cathedral at 7 p.m. that evening.

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