MASAKA: Hundreds of Catholic believers on Saturday September 24th, thronged St. Padre Pio prayer center Misaali to commemorate the most well-known modern saint in the world, the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina more commonly known as Padre Pio, the source of many alleged miracle
The celebration of the holy mass was led by Rev. Fr. Francis Sseguya, the Director St. Francis Busunju in Mityana District who urged Christians to strengthen their faith in Christ.
Rev. Fr. Sseguya said, there is need to expand St. Padre Pio prayer Center just like the resurrection gardens in Kenya which attracts thousands of tourists from all corners of the world
Rotarian Lubowa Ssebina Gyaviira, the Executive Director of Lubowa Ssebina Foundation who was the Chief Guest at the cerebration asked leaders in Masaka city and the entire sub region to promote local tourism sites like the St. Padre Pio prayer center because its one of the key newly built tourism sites in the region
“When you visit countries like United Arab Emirates (Dubai), you will notice that they have tourism sites built to showcase the religious and cultural heritage of their countries but with limited information and a few features to see. Had i known In 2022 when we hosted the She Cranes that St. Padre Pio prayer center was existing, we would visit this place. i kindly ask leaders in Masaka to list this place among the tourism sites in Masaka because it truly describes the religious heritage of Masaka sub region,” Lubowa said.
Rotarian Lubowa Ssebina also praised Rev. Fr. Anthony Eyuku, the priest in charge of St Padre Pio Prayer Center Misaali Nyendo for beautifying the prayer center.
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 under the leadership Rev. Fr. Anthony Eyuku.
This year’s commemoration of the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina more commonly known as Padre Pio was led by a fundraising drive to procure land for the expansion of the Prayer Center. The Center needs over 100 million for acquiring land which formerly occupied by traditionalists
Mr. Walugembe Batesita of Kalungu traders Masaka Contributed 10million towards the Cause. Rotarian Lubowa Ssebina Gyaviira also contributed 1 million shillings and a Bishop’s Chair worth 800,000 shillings.
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
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.
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