Sant Mary’s of the Angels Church to Pietrelcina
The church of Saint Mary’s of the Angels, today the Mother Church of Pietrelcina, is situated near the Saint Annunciation square (Piazza Santissima Annuziata), here is venerated the Madonna of the Libera, that padre Pio affectionately called “Our small Madonna”.
Here, he was ordained deacon in 1909 and had administered his first Baptism to a child that would one day become a Redemptorist priest. Speaking of this baptism it is said that Padre Pio put so much salt on the child’s toungue, that the child upon opening its small mouth rolled his eyes in such a way that Padre Pio became so frightened that he ran to the archpriest Don Salvatore Pannullo, saying “I killed a child”.
On the eve of the Assumption of the 14th of August 1910, four days after being ordained a priest, Padre Pio celebrated his first Mass. A few days later he wrote to Father Benedetto of San Marco in Lamis saying…”for a few days I have been a little sick; maybe the principal cause of this was the strong emotion that my spirit was subject to during this time… my heart overflows with joy and I feel so much stronger now and am able to face whatever afflictions that maybe sent to me, if this gives pleasure to Jesus”.
In this church Padre Pio passed interminable moments of prayer and intimacy with God, ecstasies at the foot of the altar and mystical phenomenon of the fusion of both hearts, that he himself described in his letters: “the heart of Jesus and mine, permit me to use this expression, we weren’t two hearts but only one that beat. My heart disappeared, like a drop of water that vanishes in the sea”. And still: “I feel myself burning without fire, a million flames consume me, I feel like I am continuously dying although still alive”. Padre Pio in this church celebrated Masses that were “too long” and “incomprehensible mystery” so that the Father Guardian had told the parish priest to remind him of this fact, because in this way he would be subject to the vow of saintly obedience and would have obeyed promptly.