photo courtesy of Mimmo Palizzi

foto - Mimmo Palizzi  

foto -  Dan Aspromonte

  foto - Pierluigi Marsigli

At Torricella Peligna, a Monument to Padre Pio

By Don Giuliano Palizzi, at Torricella Peligna, August 10, 2004

All began like this, almost casually, that July morning 2003, when Luisa Rinaldi, responsible for the prayer group of Torricella Peligna, said that within one year she would like to unveil or inaugurate a monument with a beautiful statue to Padre Pio. Having said so, and receiving approval from a few, happened at the same time and thus began the adventure and the research for funds to realize the vision. Today, August 10th, she says: "in the name of the Padre Pio prayer group I want to give thanks for this beautiful ceremony with which we have realized a dream that saw the statue of the Saint in our town as in many other places. Let us ask for his benediction on the parochial community, on all here present and on all who will travel this road".

The statue has been placed within a beautiful monument right at the town’s entrance, in a new zone, developed in the last decade, where there was no religious emblem. It is the road that leads to the highway, the sea and the industrial zone. From now on, Padre Pio will be there to bless and to welcome those who arrive and bid salutation to those who depart.

If one speaks of the project as a "dream", it is, because all was accomplished in the last few weeks. Many would not believe that it could happen. In fact, it has happened and the statue is there, beautiful and inviting.

Thanks were given to many: to the prayer group, to the devoted of the Saint, to those who had volunteered their time and expertise. There were many pieces that allowed the construction of the puzzle. Obviously, as in all things, not everyone was in agreement with the project. There are always those who feel that there are more important things to do, and block any initiative. At times, however, it is the presence of these people that will make the doers more determined to achieve their goals. Mrs. Rinaldi continues,: "the support of the people who love Padre Pio has won the criticism of the skeptics and of those who complain of the initiatives and new ideas that are put forth to benefit the entire community".

Standing near her and the prayer group was the mayor geometer, Graziano Zacchigna, who "...from the beginning of the project has manifested his approval and has remained available throughout the planning period, helping personally to resolve the various difficulties", continues Luisa. Also the intervention of the company that built the monument was a determinant: "A thank you to the company of DiLuzio Gino that built the monument, moving rapidly and working incessantly regardless of last week’s rainy weather". The entire DiLuzio family has worked hard for Padre Pio.

The entire town was present at the inaugural. It had been some time since so many people were gathered. Padre Guglielmo Alimonti, responsible for prayer groups in central Italy was there to bless the statue. Concelebrating were the parish priest, Don Giuseppe DiPietrantonio and the Salesiano Don Giuliano Palizzi, a Torricella native.

The celebration began with the intervention of the band that, starting from the parochial church marched throughout main street (Corso) picking up people along the way and guiding them to the monument where the covered statue of Padre Pio was ready.

With the arrival of the priests, welcomed by the town’s choral group, the rites began with the benediction of the statue and holy mass in the presence of a great participation of the population and representatives of the various associations of the civilian and military authorities. The Alpini group stood out with their characteristic hats. At the homily, Padre Guglielmo brought personal testimony of having known the Saint. It was very touching. Among other things he said: "Padre Pio places more fervour and faith in our heart. It is good that you have built a monument to Padre Pio. Keep in mind, you wanted it and Padre Pio is here. But every time that you pass by this image remember that he will bless you, protect you; you can count on it, because when Padre Pio takes a soul or a town to his heart he won’t forget. If Torricella has faith in Padre Pio, Padre Pio will not abandon it. Have faith and confidence in his prayer, always call him and he will answer. Life’s moments are not all good, but faith fills up the emptiness. Christ also brings light to the dark days. Padre Pio does his part, and you do yours. You are baptized Christians, pray. You are baptized, and christened Christians, go to church, receive communion, feel in deep and perfect union with Jesus Christ. Give honor to Padre Pio. Give testimony of this love to him. Love him, because he will love you more than you can imagine".

At the end of the Eucharist, the authorities were recognized. The parish priest, after having underscored the great moment the town was experiencing and remembering the importance of the Saint’s presence as one who represents the true value for existing, and after having given thanks to those who made the monument’s construction possible, made some invitations: "The invitation to prayer: a prayer of praise and recognition to God who may render us more aware of the need to pray for the entire world….the invitation to the faith in the mystery of the resurrected Crucifix as the key for human existence and the essence of the entire gospel. Padre Pio teaches us to accept with faith and love the law of the Cross, to choose good from bad, life from death. …the invitation to rediscover the extraordinary power of the Eucharist, of the eucharistic communion, of the confession. Saint Pio, we ask you to look on us with your intercession, to render us more generous in following Christ, in tending to that daily sanctity that alone can radiate joy, peace and hope in our society". Don Giuliano says that, though native of Torricella, he feels "...proud of having been able to participate at a historic event, an event through which the faith of the community will be handed down to posterity". The Mayor thanked all who made possible the monument and Luisa Rinaldi concluded with details, thanking the prayer group, the devout, the administration, certain companies, the priests and ending with a cumulative thanks to everyone.

The beautiful celebration was festively concluded with a party, where there was an abundance of sandwiches and pastries, once more donated by people and some businesses.

Everyone wished that the presence of Padre Pio brings maturity to the Community. Luisa Rinaldi said: "I wish that the presence of this statue and the benediction of Padre Pio help to cement the Community, to build a communion amongst us, to sustain us, becoming every day operators and builders of peace". Don Giuliano invited to do such that, "Padre Pio become the father to all those who wanted him and those who did not, those who have contributed and those who chose only to look, stopping to hold rocks in their hands, like the adulteress in the gospel, but ready to offer a flower", because charity would win, as was written in the manifest of the program of the feast with a phrase from Padre Pio: "Charity is the queen of the virtues. As pearls are kept together by a string, the same is true of the virtue of charity, and, if the string breaks, the pearls fall; likewise if charity breaks, the virtues are lost."

To finish, let us underscore two things: the first regards the love for Padre Pio: all those who have worked to prepare for the feast, upon receiving thanks, always repeated that "For Padre Pio they worked willingly". The second regards the date for this feast. The 10th of August has been established for incidental reasons and did not seem the best date, but how wonderful when it was discovered that on August 10, 1910, Francesco Forgione was ordained priest in the Duomo of Benevento and at that moment became Padre Pio. Is it possible that he wanted this date?

Translation courtesy of Joseph and Peggy Cionni

foto - Albert Porreca
foto - Albert Porreca
  foto - Albert Porreca

  foto - Albert Porreca
  foto - Albert Porreca

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