MANILA - The Catholic faithful braved snaking lines until the wee hours Thursday to venerate the heart relic of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina at the Manila Cathedral.
Devotees wait for their turn to touch, kiss, and pray for the relic of the celebrated saint, popularly known as Padre Pio, which only lasts about 10 seconds before being ushered out.
The relic will be toured in many parts of the country before it is brought back to Europe.
Padre Pio, born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, is one of the most venerated saints of the Catholic Church.
On September 20, 1918, while hearing confessions, the stigmata, believed to be the wounds of Jesus Christ, started appearing in his hands and feet.
By 1919, word began to spread about Padre Pio's stigmata and people came from far away to examine him. He died in 1968 and was canonized as a saint by John Paul II.