Fr Pio Mandato, who was our principal celebrant for our first Padre Pio Festival in 2016, returns this year, in 2019. Fr. Mandato is a Capuchin priest who, in some ways, has followed in the footsteps of his relative, Padre Pio. He was named after the saint and, like Padre Pio, traces his roots back to the sun-baked, dusty village of Pietrelcina in southern Italy.
Fr. Pio Mandato, celebrating Mass at the First Padre Pio Festival, in 2016
Fr Mandato received his first Holy Communion from Padre Pio before he and his family migrated to America in 1964. At 17 Fr. Mandato entered the Capuchins. After his ordination in 1985 he became involved in hospital chaplaincy and developed a reputation for devotion to the sick, not unlike Padre Pio who founded two hospitals in San Giovanni Rotondo: the Civil Hospital of St Francis and the House for the Relief of Suffering. Fr Mandato also worked with homeless people in New York. His mother wrote a memoir, Padre Pio: Encounters With a Spiritual Daughter From Pietrelcina. The book was originally written in Italian and Fr Mandato translated it into English.
Fr. Pio blessed pilgrims with the glove of St. Padre Pio during the Festival’s Anointing Service.
In 1998, after serving for 13 years as a Capuchin, Fr Mandato began to lead a life of prayer and solitude as a missionary hermit in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, under Bishop Joseph Bambera.
He now takes breaks from the eremitical life to travel around preaching and offering healing Masses for the sick, which draw huge crowds.