Italy makes St. Padre Pio patron of civil defense volunteers
Published: March 30, 2004
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When dealing with suffering people, St. Padre Pio knew what to say and when to say it, according to an Italian government agency welcoming his designation as patron saint of Italian civil defense volunteers. The Italian bishops' conference, which had asked the Vatican to make the designation, announced March 29 that it had been approved. The Italian Department of Civil Protection, which coordinates the work of volunteers providing security and emergency relief in the event of earthquakes, avalanches, fires, volcanic eruptions and other disasters, had supported the request and welcomed the designation. "A lesson of simple humanity, humble, hidden, nourished by a love that does not want to show off but knows when to arrive at the right moment: This is the teaching, the encouragement and the blessing which the civil defense volunteers ask of Padre Pio, their protector from this day forward," the department said in a March 29 statement. The Italian bishops forwarded the request to the Vatican after receiving a petition signed by leaders of 160 Italian civil defense volunteer organizations, which have a combined membership of about 90,000 people.
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