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St Padre Pio on Vatican display
08 Feb 2016 16:04
The embalmed corpses of two Catholic saints, including that of the venerated Italian friar Padre Pio, have gone on display in St Peter's Basilica.
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Nearly half a century after his death, the body of Padre Pio was moved for the first time from its resting place in a sanctuary at San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy.
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It has been brought to the Vatican at the request of Pope Francis as part of events to mark the ongoing Catholic Jubilee Year.
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The corpses of the two saints will be on display in St Peter's until 11 February.
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Padre Pio was revered during his lifetime (1887-1968) and his popularity has continued to grow since his death, particularly in Italy.
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His body was accompanied to St Peter's by St Leopold Mandic (1866-1942), a Croatian Capuchin who was, like Padre Pio, celebrated for his skill in receiving confessions - a quality Pope Francis wants to champion during the jubilee year.
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Canonised under Pope John Paul II, Padre Pio's brand of popular, mystical Catholicism was less popular with the Vatican authorities when he was alive.
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