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Rome braces for Padre Pio canonisation

The canonisation of Padre Pio, planned for Sunday in St Peter's Square, will mobilise both pilgrims and security forces, with nearly 400,000 people expected to come fort the ceremony.

More than 3,700 buses, 50 special trains, and the thousands of pilgrims arriving by car or plane are expected by tomorrow in Rome, for the canonisation Mass of the famed Capuchin stigmatist which will take place the following day.

To prepare for this multitude, all the streets located around the Vatican will be closed to traffic during these two days. In addition, 12 large giant screens will be installed in the principal squares close to St. Peter's Basilica.

In addition to the many objects of all kinds and all forms from near and far connected to the future saint and available at numerous shops in recent weeks, pilgrims will be able to buy a postal stamp published by the Italian post office and commemorating the canonisation of Padre Pio.

This canonisation, which touches Italians particularly, is regarded as a major event by many daily newspapers in the country.

"It is enough to think of 3000 Internet sites dedicated to the Capuchin monk, with the 210 biographies published in bookstores, or the other 150 books devoted to Padre Pio published since 1999," one of them noted.

The diocesan process for the canonisation of Padre Pio had been opened in 1983, and had been sent then to Rome, to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in 1990. After studying the file, the congregation declared him "venerable", thus opening the way for beatification on 2 May 1999.


14 Jun 2002