In 1964, I traveled from the Philippines to San Giovanni Rotondo with my parents and siblings to visit Padre Pio. However, we were unable to see him because he was ill at the time and we left San Giovanni disappointed and with heavy hearts. But on June 7, 2006, I was able to go there once again on pilgrimage. I was able to view his relics and see his home and church. I saw the brand new modern looking basilica that has been erected in his honor. But it is to the older church of Our Lady of Grace that I was drawn. There I felt the presence of Padre Pio very strongly. In the old church I knelt beside Padre Pio’s confessional and prayed to him and made a general confession. I tried to recall the many, many sins of my life and I humbly asked his intercession for God’s pardon. Then, in my heart, I felt Padre Pio talking to me. I felt that he was asking me to say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be, for the souls in Purgatory, everyday for the rest of my life. Afterwards, I went to the bookstore inside the church. There I saw a book with Padre Pio’s picture on the cover titled, “The Holy Souls.” I purchased the book and learned that Padre Pio offered his Masses, prayers and sufferings for the release of the Holy Souls who are in Purgatory. I had no knowledge of this before I read the book. I feel that my prayer was heard by Padre Pio and that he truly spoke to me in my heart. Padre Pio truly lives. Viva Padre Pio!
– Carmelino P. Alvendia Jr.