MASAKA: As one of the most well-known modern saints in the world, the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina more commonly known as Padre Pio has been the source of many alleged miracles over the years.
The Italian saint who died in 1968 and in 2002 was canonized by Pope John Paul II is a darling of many. In Uganda, the Saint has two prayer centres, one situated 18 km along Kampala-Entebbe road, and the second located at Misaali Hill Masaka diocese
The Masaka Center was opened in 2018 after one of the strong Catholic believers was impacted by the legacy of Padre Pio, upon receiving an extraordinary healing that prompted him to donate 5 acres of Land at Misaali Hill in Masaka
This contribution later resulted in the creation of the second National Centre for Padre Pio in Masaka
However, the land was just next to a number of traditional shrines which created a non-foreseen competition between Catholics seeking for Padre Pio’s miracles and the Witchdoctors at the Hill during time of worship.
The priest in charge of St Padre Pio Prayer Center Misaali Nyendo, Fr. Antony Eyuku, said they agreed with traditionalists to take over the entire premises to seize the competition and expand the center by procuring land where the shrines are currently located so that the place can be truly holy.
Last week Christians therefore, converged at Misaali Prayer center to fundraise money for procuring the land to enable traditionalists to relocate.
The fundraising ceremony began with a Mass led by Fr. Raymond Kalanzi from the Archdiocese of Kampala, who urged his fellow priests and Catholics to do everything possible to encourage their fellow Catholics not to run to the shrines thinking that there is victory.
Fr. Kalanzi, said many Catholics are leaving the church of the Lord and call upon St. Padre Pio and Mother Mary to bring back the Catholics who have left the church for light reasons.
The priest in charge of St Padre Pio Prayer Center Misaali Nyendo, Fr. Antony Eyuku, urged Christians to help them fundraise for the expansion of the center by buying land where the shrines are located so that the place can be truly holy. Millions of money was collected during the event.
You can also fundraise for this cause through Centenary Bank A/C: 3202104044
Bank Name: St. Padre Prayer Centre Misaali
Mobile Money: +256 773 811 764/ +256 702 811 764
PROGRAMME OF THE PRAYER CENTRE
Monday-Friday: 7:00am – Morning Mass
Tuesday: 3:00pm – Novena and Mass in honour of St. Anthony of Padua
Saturday: 10:00am- 4:00pm, Prayer Service including: Confession praise and worship, adoration, preaching the word of God, Novena to St. Padre Pio, Prayers for healing and deliverance, and Mass
Sunday Personal Prayers- No programme
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: Counseling, Morning hours, afternoon hours, 10:00am- 5:00pm
Who was Padre Pio?
According to Alessandro da Ripabottoni, author of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, the saint was born Francesco Forgione in southern Italy on May 25, 1887. Padre Pio (his acquired monk name) lived a saintly life right from childhood. For instance, his mother would every morning find his bed unused as the young boy preferred to sleep on the bare ground using a stone for a pillow.
He would also torment himself with an iron chain. One day his mother found him beating himself and when she inquired, Padre Pio reportedly said: “I must scourge myself in the same way as Jesus was scourged until he bled.”
Padre Pio was ordained a priest on August 10, 1910 in Benevento and is much remembered for leading a miserable, humble and sickly life.
He became well-known for mysteriously acquiring on his body the five wounds of crucified Jesus, which first appeared on September 20, 1918. Pope Benedict XVI once considered Padre Pio “a truly extraordinary man, whom God sends once in a while into the world in order to convert men”, while Pope Pius XII at one time encouraged a group of French pilgrims to visit Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo.
In 1987 Pope John Paul II made a pastoral visit to San Giovanni Rotondo and prayed at Padre Pio’s tomb. By 1968 Padre Pio was 81 years old and confined to bed with bouts of kidney colic, yet he never feared death. When asked how he felt, he reportedly said: “Only the tomb remains for me. I am more dead than alive.”
He requested those around his sickbed to pray to the Lord to allow him to die!
He thus died peacefully on September 23, 1968 with a rosary in his hands and “Jesus!….Mary!” on his lips. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 2, 1999 and finally proclaimed a saint at St Peter’s square in Rome. John Paul II established his feast day on the liturgical calendar to be September 23.