Padre Pio celebrated in Ferns
Ferns came to a stand-still last Wednesday evening as the annual St. Padre Pio's feast day celebrations and Healing Mass took place.
St. Aidan's Church was packed to capacity by the time the St. Padre Pio relics arrived. Capuchin Friar Fr. Sean Kelly was accompanied by Br. Anthony Kurian, a post-novice from India, and three postulants: CJ O'Dwyer from Dublin; Ade Green from England; and John Doone from Belfast. Brian Stone a member of Halston Street Parish in Dublin also accompanied the group. On their way down to Ferns they made a stop at Valentia Nursing Home to bless all the residents with St Pio's relics.
Fr. Kelly concelebrated the Mass with Ferns Parish Priest Fr. Paddy Cushen, and also Fr. Paddy's brother Fr. Bernard Cushen, as well as Fr. Billy Swan, Fr. John Byrne, and Fr. Leo McAuliffe from the Capuchin Friary in Carlow.
In his sermon, Fr. Kelly focused on the 'year of mercy' and spoke the words of Pope Francis that 'mercy is the very foundation of the Church's life'. He urged people not to be afraid to come back to the sacrament of Confession. He said that Padre Pio would sometimes spend up to 17 hours a day hearing Confessions. He said that his call to Mass, Rosary, and Confession is the same today as it was then.
A spokesperson for the organisers said that people came in bus loads from across the county. 'There were people in wheelchairs, lots of children, babies and elderly,' she said. 'Everyone came to honour and remember St. Pio and they carried with them their own private intentions in their hearts. Everyone came looking for healing, physical, emotional, and mental, and there was no doubt that St. Pio's presence was strongly felt in St Aidan's Church. Religious items were also blessed on the night.'
A basket collection was taken up, and a portion of the money collected goes to help Br. Kevin feed the homeless at the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin.
A huge thank you went to all those involved in the stewarding and organisational preparations which were described as 'exceptional'. Many thanks also went to the priests who helped celebrate the Mass and helped with Confessions. Thanks also went to the car park attendants; those who gave out Rosary beads; the Legion of Mary members who helped in the shop; and Francis Davitt and the choir who provided beautiful uplifting music.