As part of its mission to create opportunities for parishioners to experience faith in different ways, Saint Francis Xavier Parish in McKean wanted to bring relics of Saint Padre Pio to their church. A Catholic Foundation grant provided needed funds to accomplish this project. Irene Schneider, director of evangelization, was pleased with the volume of worshipers that visited the parish while the relics were on display. As expected, many visitors were from the local area, but faithful from the eastern part of the diocese, as well as Buffalo, Cleveland and the Akron area visited the church to experience this exceptional opportunity. Irene shares, “We had a wonderful turnout and many of the faithful expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to venerate the Saint Padre Pio relics and to grow in their faith and understanding.”
Irene explained that as a parish they are interested in providing unique experiences for parishioners and other faithful to grow in prayer as a community and to experience the power and devotion of the saints. Toward this goal, a presentation on the life of Saint Padre Pio was held which was paired with an opportunity for veneration and liturgy of the hours. “It was edifying to see people's devotion to Saint Padre Pio and seeing parents and grandparents share the experience with the next generation”, said Irene. “The graces that came from hosting this event were extraordinary.”
Father Jason Feigh, pastor of Saint Francis Xavier Parish and chaplain for Cathedral Preparatory School added, “We were blessed to have over 300 people visit our parish to experience up close and personal real relics of this holy saint.” The relics were also moved from Saint Francis Xavier Parish to Cathedral Preparatory School for one day to allow the students, faculty, and staff to take time to view them and pray with them. Father Feigh explains, “I decided to have the relics at the school so that the students in particular could see that Saints are real, holiness is attainable, and new life is possible through Jesus Christ.” The relics were displayed in the third-floor chapel of the school building to a group of 300.
Irene added that the grant from the Foundation allowed them to provide this rare experience of a modern-day saint. She noted that this could not have been achieved without the gift of donors to the Catholic Foundation, for which she is grateful. Father Feigh expressed his gratitude for this collaboration between the parish and the Foundation. “I am grateful for this opportunity for evangelization.”
The grant awarded to Saint Francis Xavier Parish for this unique opportunity was made possible because of the generosity of donors. Join us with a gift to the Education Endowment and help us increase our capacity to award grants for impactful experiences like this.
“We were blessed to have over 300 people visit our parish to experience up close and personal real relics of this holy saint.”