I have long wanted to go to San Giovanni Rotondo to visit the Shrine of Padre Pio. It’s quite a way from Rome and involves a train and bus ride of around 4 hours. But this time, I’m determined to go. So were my niece and couple of friends. The 4 of us hired a van with driver for the long drive. It was a rainy Monday. Never had a chance to peel off my windbreaker cum rain jacket.
The body of Padre Pio in the lower ground chapel lies behind a glass panel. We were surprised that security seemed lax and the atmosphere so tranquil and peaceful, without any traces of the ubiquitous security protocols. We went inside, took the lifts and emerged in the sanctuary without meeting a single uniformed guard nor passing any security zone.
Face to face with Padre Pio, the immediate thought that crossed my mind were 2 dear friends I’ve lost a few years back who were so devoted to the Saint. Perhaps a timely reminder as I’ve been praying for loved ones still around and forgot about those who’ve left us. Honestly? I didn’t know what else to pray for, after praying for our dear departed ones.
Padre Pio prays:
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.