The body of St. Pio of Pietrelcina has been moved from its 42-year resting spot in the shrine of San Giovanni Rotondo to a new church inaugurated by Benedict XVI when he visited the spot last year.
The remains of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968), commonly known as Padre Pio, were moved April 19. The friars of the Foggia Province chose the date to coincide with the fifth anniversary of Benedict XVI's election as Pope and the opening of their 126th provincial chapter.
The new Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina offers more space for pilgrims and easier access to the disabled. Padre Pio's tomb is the third most visited Catholic site in the world, after the Vatican and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The local archbishop presided over the Eucharist, during which the altar of the church was consecrated, and Padre Pio's remains were placed in the central pillar of the building.
The pillar is decorated with mosaics by Father Ivan Marko Rupnik on the lives of Padre Pio and of St. Francis of Assisi.
The transfer of Padre Pio's body was authorized by the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes.