We left San Giovanni Rotondo this morning and drove 3 hours to our next holy sites: Saint Pio's birthplace, the Church of the Holy Family, and the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels.
We arrived in Pietralcina and walked to the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels. There we were greeted by 2 Filipino sisters who would be our tour guides through the town. To experience the quaint little town, we walked up and down narrow cobblestone streets to the house where Saint Pio lived as a boy. We climbed a steep crooked stone staircase to reach a single room at the top with a bed and small table. Carefully going back down the staircase, we crossed the street to see the kitchen of the house.
A short walk away from that house, we visited the tiny Church of the Holy Family. This is the church that Saint Pio was baptized in and received his First Holy Communion. The baptismal font was behind a glass wall. We gathered in the church and prayed a short prayer for the intercession of Saint Pio.
We walked back to the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels. This was the church where Saint Pio said his first Mass in 1910. He stayed at this parish for 6 years, saying Mass every morning at 5:30 AM. This is also the church where he began hearing confessions. We were able to see his first confessional behind a wall of glass. Bishop Malesic presided at Mass here, and the prayer sachet was once again placed on the altar and remembered in prayers.
We boarded the busses one more time today, traveling through the beautiful countryside. Vineyards and groves of olive trees filled the landscape with the Apennine Mountains in the background. It was an ideal backdrop to pray the rosary with Bishop Malesic as we continued on our journey to Rome. When we arrived in Rome it was already dark, but we got our first glimpse of Saint Peter's Basilica from our hotel.
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