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DEARBORN, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholics in the Detroit area are getting ready to venerate the relics of one of the most popular saints of modern times.
Saint Barbara's Church in downtown East Dearborn will showcase Padre Pio's holy relics on Friday, Nov. 17. The Church, just minutes from downtown Detroit, is located off Michigan Avenue at 13534 Colson St.
Parishioners have been looking forward to this day for a long time. Church staff told Church Militant: "This event has been two years in the planning, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity."
The pastor of St. Barbara's, Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski, affectionately called Fr. Z by his parishioners, had this to say about the upcoming visit of the relics:
This is a special time for everyone to express their gratitude to St. Padre Pio for interceding on our behalf through all these years since we came to know him. It is also an opportunity to ask him to bless us with the gift of peace and wisdom. God is in charge. In the blink of an eye, He can change the situation our world is in. Only the Holy Spirit can change the situation we are in.
Echoing Padre Pio's famous counsel, Fr. Grankowski added, "So pray, trust, and don't worry. God is in charge."
Padre Pio's holy relics will be on display for six hours — from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Friday afternoon and evening. Viewing will be paused during holy Mass, which will be offered at 6 p.m. that evening. Father Grankowski will be the celebrant.
The St. Pio Foundation, stationed in Tuckahoe, New York, is helping to host the event. Its founder, Maestro Luciano Lamonarca — often referred to as the "goodwill tenor" for his charitable works — will sing two of Padre Pio's favorite songs during Mass. He will also be on hand to give insight about the great saint from his native Italy.
First- and second-class holy relics of the saint available for public veneration include:
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (1887–1968), commonly called Padre Pio, meaning Father Pius, is a multifaceted saint. He was a Capuchin priest, stigmatist, mystic, bilocator, devotee of St. Francis of Assisi, spiritual and physical healer, builder and a man of prayer.
Many miracles have been attributed to Padre Pio. He endured the stigmata — the bleeding wounds of Jesus on his own body — for over 50 years. He is known to have bilocated, appearing to witnesses in two places at one time. He healed many people who came to him with physical ailments and abnormalities. "Pray, hope and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer," he often said.
He also healed many people's hearts and minds with his sermons, hours in the confessional and his prayers. To those looking for spiritual healing, he advised praying often and was known to have said, "Prayer is the oxygen of the soul."
During his ministry, pilgrims came to him by the thousands from all over the world, to the consternation of some Church officials who became jealous of his appeal.
One of Padre Pio's greatest legacies and miracles was the building in 1956 of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (Home for the Relief of Suffering). He built the hospital after many told him it was an impossible idea. He referred to his dream as a "clinic for souls," saying the goal is "to care for the bodies to [assist] the souls." At first, 300 beds were available. Now there are over 900, and 1.3 million medical treatments are administered there each year.
Fifty-five years after his death, Padre Pio is considered one of the most active saints in the Church. Penitents worldwide continue to pray for his intercession, attesting to healings and miracles. Many healings occur while the faithful are prayed over by a priest holding a relic of the saint.
The office staff reminded Church Militant that St. Barbara's is also celebrating its centennial this year. They said they are "proud that the parish has served as a shining light of Christ in East Dearborn for 100 years!"
They harkened back to St. Barbara's early Polish and Italian roots and how the latter is now resonating to stimulate visitation of the Italian saint's relics. Browsing the church's early sacramental registers, there are "names like Brozovich as well as Bianchi, Andrzej as well as Annunziata, Iwaniec along with Iafrate," they said.
In September, Fr. Grankowski also celebrated St. Barbara's Detroit roots with a three-day veneration of a relic of Blessed Fr. Solanus Casey, a holy man Motown claims as its own. An upcoming Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which acknowledges the newest parishioners from Mexico and Central America, is scheduled for December.
Above all, the parish priest emphasizes that all of the centennial celebrations focus on the holy banquet that has taken place in his church for 100 years: the Eucharist banquet.
Free parking for the event is available off Colson Street behind O'Reilly's Auto Parts. A handicapped drop-off is located at the front of the church, and a handicapped ramp is available on the side. Volunteers will also be on hand to help visitors attending the event.
For additional information about the veneration of the relics, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the parish at (313) 582-8383.