A Saint’s Remains and the Pope’s Choir at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Attendance for the choir’s performance at the cathedral on Saturday night will be more limited — the cathedral can hold 2,200 people and the event requires a ticket.

But the singing ensemble — also known as “the Pope’s Choir” — will perform again during at a special Mass at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday as part of a welcoming service for the relics that will be celebrated by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the leader of the Archdiocese of New York.

During the special Mass, the relics will be on display in the cathedral’s baptistery and the Sistine Chapel Choir will alternate with the cathedral choir in performing liturgical songs.

Other services will be said in honor of Padre Pio, with a Mass to mark the end of the exhibition scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday to be conducted by Msgr. Robert T. Ritchie, the rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

On Friday, Monsignor Ritchie showed two of Padre Pio’s relics that had been installed in a tiny sacristy chapel in the cathedral: The saint’s cloak of brown wool was draped over a mannequin and his brown, fingerless glove was displayed in an ornate reliquary display case. The glove is soaked in the saint’s blood.

Padre Pio wore gloves to cover the constant wounds on his hands, which his devotees believe were part of a series of wounds on his body that corresponded to the stigmata, or crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ.


Padre Pio’s fingerless glove in case. The glove is soaked in the saint’s blood.

Edu Bayer for The New York Times

Devotees regard these wounds as signs of holiness and that they never became infected, though they did bleed.

“They say he would lose a half liter of blood each day,” said Luciano Lamonarca, who as president of the Saint Pio Foundation in New York City helped organize the relics tour to honor the 130th anniversary of Padre Pio’s birth in southern Italy and the 15th anniversary of his canonization.

Monsignor Ritchie said other saints also bore stigmata wounds, including St. Francis in the 13th century.

“Padre Pio is in a line of very spiritual people for having this special gift from God to show the importance of suffering for others’ salvation,” he said.

Some devotees say the blood from Padre Pio’s stigmata smelled like flowers and the monsignor explained that bodies of Catholic saints were often said to emanate a floral…

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