Bumper crowds attend worship
RELICS OF PADRE PIO AT ST. AIDAN'S CATHEDRAL, ENNISCORTHY
FERNS WAS brought to a standstill last week as bumper crowds arrived from all over County Wexford to take part in the annual Saint Pio Mass at St. Aidan's church.
The healing power of the Italian saint, who bore the stigmata marks of the Cross for most of his life, reached out to faithful followers and drew them to Ferns.
They came to touch his relics, which comprised two gloves and a bandage, many of them hoping for Padré Pio's assistance in dealing with illness. The church was full more than 40 minutes before the Mass commenced at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday evening and the last of the worshippers departed around 10 p.m.
'Faith is very much alive,' concluded Patricia McNally from Enniscorthy who helped to organise the fourth such gathering in the yearly series with Francis Davitt. 'It was an amazing occasion, lovely to see everyone come together from all over Wexford.'
The relics were brought from Dublin by Capuchin priest Father Seán Kelly who delivered the homily, speaking of Saint Pio's life and the devotion to Our Lady. He was assisted on the night by Ferns parish priest Father Paddy Cushen with Father John Byrne from St. Senan's and Father Michael Doyle from Ballyfad, as well as Father Cyprian from the friary in Wexford.
Members of the congregation, many of them in wheelchairs, waited patiently for their blessing and a touch of glove or bandage. As they queued in prayerful hope of Pio's intercession, the parish choir sang; confessions were heard; and the Rosary was recited. ' There is a great devotion to Padre Pio,' observed Father Cushen.