The heart of Saint Padre Pio, a major relic of a canonized Italian priest, will be on display for three days this week in the Boston Archdiocese in honor of his feast day.
"This is the first time any major relic of Padre Pio has left Italy, and we are so pleased that they have offered to come to Boston for this historic visit," Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, wrote on his blog in announcing the event.
The Capuchin Friars who run the Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Italy brought the relic to the Boston area.
"We know that many people throughout our country have a great devotion to Padre Pio, so the friars have made this possible especially for those who are not able to travel to San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy to venerate his relics and pray for his intercession," O'Malley wrote.
The relic will be in Massachusetts from Wednesday through his feast day on Friday. These will be the only stops the relic will make on this trip.
Padre Pio, also known as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, was a friar and priest known for his piety and charity.
In 1916, while hearing confessions, Padre Pio developed the stigmata, marking on his palms and feet that resembled the nail wounds of the crucified Christ, according to the church. As word of his stigmata spread, his popularity became a concern of the Vatican. A church investigation concluded that his stigmata wasn't faked.
The priest used his newfound popularity to open a hospital in 1956 in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Padre Pio died on Sept. 23, 1968. More than 100,000 people attended his funeral.
Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio as a saint on June 16, 2002. He is the patron saint of civil defense volunteers, adolescents and the village of Pietreicina.
The CatholicTV Network plans to broadcast live the Mass from Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Friday, the Feast of Saint Padre Pio.
According to the Archdiocese of Boston, the schedule and locations for where the public may view Padre Pio's heart are as follows:
Wednesday, Sept. 21
— Immaculate Conception Parish, Lowell, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Veneration throughout the day with Mass at noon.
— St. Leonard’s Church, North End of Boston, 7 p.m. to midnight; Mass at 7 p.m., followed by veneration until midnight.
Thursday, Sept. 22
— Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston, Braintree, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Veneration throughout the day with Mass at noon.
— Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, 7 p.m. to midnight; Spanish Mass at 7 p.m., followed by veneration until midnight.
Friday, Sept. 23 (The Feast of St. Padre Pio)
— Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, 9 a.m. to midnight; Mass at 9 a.m., followed by all day veneration. Mass with Cardinal Sean O’Malley at 7 p.m., followed by veneration until midnight.