Saint Padre Pio

23rd September

St Padre Pio is the saint for Reconciliation. He is the saint who carried the wounds of the suffering Christ for the most part of his life.

Through long hours in the confessional, Padre Pio brought down, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Christ’s open arms to welcome all those who want to return to His loving embrace.

St Padre Pio mirrored the love of Jesus and His suffering for our salvation, in the wounds he carried on his body. We will be mirroring God’s love for us when we forgive those who hurt us as He forgives us all our shortcomings.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation has been known for a long time as Confession. Both terms include the same process of ‘coming back home’ to receive the joy of forgiveness and the strength to go accepting life’s challenges of right and wrong.

This process includes elements of:

  • acknowledging one’s failures and shortcomings
  • expressing regret
  • asking for and receiving the gift of forgiveness
  • savouring the joy of being reconciled.

Children need to recognise these elements in their daily life, not only to be more appreciative of what happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also to provide them with foundations to becoming mature adults, without developing the tendency to accumulate anger and hard feelings:

  • Admitting mistakes is a hurdle for young people. They tend to put the blame on others, being reluctant to take responsibility for their actions.
  • In a quiet time, one may lead them to recognise shortcomings. They would need to realise that when they overcome them, they will be better people.
  • A member of the family can mention situations that could have been challenging for them to accept, for example: Am I lazy? Do I tell lies? Blame others for things I do? Do I take anything that does not belong to me? Do I say rude words or mean things that hurt others? Do I follow house rules? etc.
  • The tone of voice needs to be soft, low, peaceful and not strong and accusative.

To forgive, to ask for forgiveness will always remain a challenge for the Christian:

  • Find an opportunity to hear the children express their thoughts as to what it means to forgive, how it feels, what is easy/hard about it.
  • Encourage them to find examples of how they forgive/ask for forgiveness. This will vary according to their age.
  • This could be done in what family therapists recommend as “a family forgiveness gathering,”  if possible once a week or at least when the need arises. This will provide an opportunity to reconcile with members of the family there and then, and ideas can be put forward on how to reconcile with others.

We can lead children to understand our friendship with God:

  • Listen to their ideas of what it means having a friend and being a friend.
  • Jesus is our friend, who is always with us, always listening as we can talk to Him about anything. He will never hurt us. But sometimes we hurt our friendship with Jesus.
  • When we hurt others, when we refuse to ask for forgiveness or refuse to forgive, our friendship with Jesus does not remain whole.
  • We need to ask Him for forgiveness too, first personally and then in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where the priest represents Jesus.

Consider relating the parable of the Prodigal Son from a Children’s Bible, eliciting the elements of love of the father, of regret, of forgiveness and reconciliation.

During family prayer time, pray together: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Children may be encouraged to verbalise their own simple “Sorry Prayer.” Do not hesitate to verbalise your own.

Padre Pio is also known as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. This famous saint amongst our elders is well known to help people from all over the world to get closer to God through the Sacrament of reconciliation. He helped the poor, founded a hospital and lots of prayer groups. Padre Pio is well known for his stigmata (red marks) on his palm of his hands. 

Confession Experiment! (Ask an adult to help you with this experiment)

Since Padre Pio helped lots of people to get closer to God through the Sacrament of Confession, today we are going to do an experiment to understand this beautiful Sacrament. 

Prepare 3 jugs and label them (you, sin, Jesus). Fill the jug named ‘you’ with water, the jug named ‘sin’ with water mixed with some food colouring, and the jug named ‘Jesus’ with bleach. 

Notice the difference between the 3 jugs using the sight and smell senses.

‘you’ jug is clear, ‘sin’ jug is dirty, ‘Jesus’ jug is clear with a strong smell. 

Pour some of the ‘sin’ jug into ‘you’ jug and notice that the ‘you’ jug is dirty. This is what will happen to us when we sin. Afterwards, pour the ‘Jesus’ jug into ‘you’ jug and notice what will happen to ‘you’ jug. 

You will notice that the ‘you’ jug gets clear again. This is what happens when we go for Confession. Now that we understood the meaning of Confession, let’s find some time and go for a Confession! If you don’t know how to make a Confession, check out this good video. If you’re still confused, keep calm and ask the priest to help and guide you. 😊

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.