By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy
The Catholic Church doctrine, the communion of saints, says that the faithful on earth can help the departed by their prayers as those in heaven pray for those still on earth.
I am sharing the stories from testimonies of Padre Pio, sent to me by John Ritchie of America Needs Fatima, on the saint’s feast day last Monday.
One day while praying alone, Padre Pio saw an old man standing there. He was surprised by the presence of another person in the room and explained, “I could not imagine how he could have entered the friary at this time of night since all the doors were locked.” Padre Pio asked the man, “Who are you? What do you want?”
The man responded, “Padre Pio, I am Pietro Di Mauro, son of Nicola, nicknamed Precoco. I died in this friary on the 18th of September 1908, in cell number 4, when it was still a poorhouse. One night, while in bed, I fell asleep with a lighted cigar. The mattress caught fire and I died a terrible death. I am still in purgatory. I need a holy Mass in order to be freed. God permitted that I come and ask you for help.”
Pio comforted the poor soul saying, “Rest assured that tomorrow I will celebrate Mass for your liberation.”
The man left. The next day Pio discovered that a man of the same name died on that day in 1908. Everything was confirmed and Padre Pio celebrated a Mass for the repose of the man’s soul.
There were souls from purgatory asking Padre Pio for prayers. Pio claimed, “As many souls of the dead come up this road [to the monastery] as souls of the living.” Many times, the souls would ask for a Mass to be said for them, highlighting the spiritual weight of a Mass and how it can lessen the time a person spends in purgatory before embracing the glories of heaven.
One night, in 1944, the friars heard loud voices coming from downstairs saying, “Viva Padre Pio!”The superior, Padre Raffaele da S. Elia a Pianisi, told the doorkeeper, Fra Gerardo da Deliceto, to let those people out and lock the door properly.
Fra Gerardo went downstairs but found nobody. The door was doubly locked as it was every night.He went back to report. Padre Raffaele was puzzled and went to Padre Pio asking if he knew something about this strange occurrence.With a total lack of agitation or surprise, Padre Pio responded, “Oh! Those were soldiers who had died on the battleground and came to thank me for their salvation.”
Carmela Marocchino’s brother Padre Vittore da Canosa died suddenly on January 29, 1958.Carmela asked Padre Pio why the sudden death.
Padre Pio, always compassionate, replied with this beautiful imagery, “Do you know what Jesus did regarding your brother? Jesus went into the garden, and there were many flowers, and one was more beautiful than the others. He leaned on the most beautiful and picked it.”
Carmela begged, “Is he saved?”“Yes, but we need to pray.”On July 29th, she asked again if he was saved.
“My daughter,” Padre Pio replied, “we priests are more responsible in front of God. Let’s continue praying.”
On December 29, 1958 she asked Padre Pio again where her brother was. Her persistence was rewarded with the following words, “He is in Paradise.”
Padre Pio has his own story. “One night I was alone in the choir and I saw a friar cleaning the altar late at night. I asked him to go to bed since it was so late. He said: ‘I’m a friar like you. I did my novitiate here. When assigned to take care of the altar, I passed in front of the Tabernacle many times without making the proper reverence. For this sin I am in Purgatory, and the Lord sent me to you. You decide how much longer I have to suffer in those flames.’
“I told him he must remain in Purgatory until the Mass in the morning. To which he responded, ‘Cruel’ and disappeared.
“I still have a wound in my heart. I could have sent him immediately to Paradise, instead he had to stay one more night in the flames of Purgatory.”
Such is the liberating power of the Mass for souls.