Padre Pío of Pietrelcina

Padre Pio’s body exhumed

 San Giovanni Rotondo, Mar. 3, 2008 ( – Church officials exhumed thepadre-pio.jpg body of Padre Pio on March 2, in preparation for the public veneration of his remains later this year.

Bishop Domenico D’Ambrosio reported that the body of Padre Pio, who died in 1968, was partially incorrupt. Although there was no sign of the stigmata– the wounds on his hands and feet, matching those of the crucified Christ– the saint’s hair and beard were intact. The bishop remarked that the hands of the beloved Capuchin friar were so well preserved that he appeared to have “just had a manicure.”

The body of Padre Pio– who was canonized by Pope John Paul II (bionews) in 2002– is being transferred to a new shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived. His remains will be exposed for veneration there. Archbishop D’Ambrosio overcame objections from some of Padre Pio’s relatives to exhume the saint’s body, making it available for veneration during the 40th anniversary of his death. Each year nearly 1 million people travel to San Giovanno Rotondo to visit the saint’s grave; Church officials expect larger crowds for the anniversary year.