A much-loved Saint challenges us to live as ‘full-time Catholics’

By Christina Gretton, 6 October 2022
Fr Suresh Kumar, Parish Priest of St Padre Pio Parish Glenmore Park, during the 2022 Mass for the Feast of St Padre Pio. Image: St Padre Pio Parish Glenmore Park.


As people travelled from as far as Brisbane and Melbourne to Glenmore Park to celebrate the Feast of St Padre Pio, a popular and revered Saint, they were reminded of his lessons and teachings around the value of confession, daily prayer and living a life as a “full-time Catholic”.

St Padre Pio was an Italian Franciscan Capuchin priest who died in 1968 and was made a saint by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2002. The parish of St Padre Pio Glenmore Park welcomed more than 1,000 parishioners and visitors on Sunday 25 September to celebrate his Feast Day.

Following a procession through the Bethany Primary School grounds to the parish church, and accompanied by the ringing of church bells, Parish Priest Fr Suresh Kumar welcomed the parishioners and visitors who came to celebrate the Saint’s feast day.

In his homily Fr Suresh in explaining St Padre Pio’s stigmata, described him as the first priest to “share the wounds of Christ.”

Padre Pio’s one goal was to get every soul that came into his care, into heaven,” said Fr Suresh. He explained how St Padre Pio dedicated up to 14 hours a day listening to confessions. “He knew the value of confessions,” said Fr Suresh.

Fr Suresh explained the work of Padre Pio and the lessons for all Catholics “We can’t fight a full time devil by being part time Catholic and to fight the devil we need to be full-time Catholics,” he said. He urged all families to keep up praying, especially the Rosary.

Padre Pio was focused on getting as many souls as possible into heaven, said Fr Suresh. He quoted Padre Pio as saying, “Until the last spiritual child of mine goes to heaven, I will not go to heaven.”

Following Padre Pio’s teachings on living faith and being a spiritual child of Padre Pio isn’t easy, said Fr Suresh. While regular confessions, prayer and weekly Mass attendance are part of what is required, said Fr Suresh, people need to prove their faith in words and actions in every part of their lives, as well as experience suffering that is “meaningful and with purpose”. “Padre Pio suffered for 50 years with the pain of stigmata,” said Fr Suresh, “but he thanked God for his suffering.”

Many people have prayed to St Padre Pio to intercede on their behalf said Fr Suresh. He spoke of his encounter with a couple and their three day old baby in the church. “They told me they had been praying to Padre Pio for a child after they had been trying for seven years,” he said. “The doctors said they couldn’t have children. Once their baby was born they came directly to our church to thank St. Padre Pio before they had even gone home,” he said.

He reminded worshippers of St Padre Pio’s famous advice which also adorns the entrance to the church “ Pray, hope and don’t worry,”

The 15-strong parish team behind the feast day were thrilled to be able to help celebrate the much-loved Saint. “He was such a humble man,” said Pricilla, a member of the parish for a long time, “People are trying to emulate him in some small way.”

Parishioners contributed food to a huge feast, more than enough to feed the 1,000+ guests and the atmosphere in the parish grounds after the celebration was joyous.

The team invited the community, those from other parishes, and those from other faiths to attend. Fr. Suresh also invited some bikers who ride Motorbikes with him regularly. Nabih, from Our Lady of Lebanon in Harris Park gladly came when invited. “Being here in the parish, the experience was very sacred and holy, and the grace of God was at work,” he said.

Noel from Toongabbie, came to the parish to give thanks. “After a year of being unemployed, I have a new job and I start this week,” he said joyously. “Blessings come in many ways.”

See photos from the Feast Day celebrations here.

St Padre Pio Parish is home to a relic of St Padre Pio which is on display for prayer and adoration each Saturday morning. The Feast Day of St Padre Pio is 23 September.

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