27, 2004 -Padre Pio's Miracle shrine -Top photo from Spirit
Daily.com oneline newspaper, story from wpvi.com. A local shrine...
A growing number of believers... A site for the miraculous? "I
just can't believe how much it's changed my life..." Action
News Reporter Cathy Gandolfo meets a group of the faithful. People
who say this area shrine led to dramatic encounters with the divine...
have been so many wonderful things that you just can't say that
they're coincidence." Hear their inspirational stories of belief
- and you may learn to believe, too. In rural south Jersey, along
Route 40 in the town of Buena, a shrine to one of the world's newest
saints is drawing hundreds of people seeking help for their medical
and personal problems. As Cathy Gandolfo reports, the faithful believe
that their prayers have saved lives.
Even on this
very cold day, dozens of believers gathered at this shrine to Padre
Pio to pray, to share pictures they believe depict angel wings and
the light of God, and to share stories of miracles. Marie Russo
of Franklin Twp. N.J. "We've had so many wonderful things that
you just can't say that they're coincidence. "Little Madison
Pio Avena was born healthy -- even though her mother had cervical
cancer throughout her pregnancy. She rejected her doctors' advice
and refused to abort.
This man was on the waiting list for a lung transplant for more
than four YEARS. Four MONTHS after he started praying to Saint Padre
Pio -- a match became available.
of Ocean City, N.J. "I feel terrific, I feel from 6 weeks ago,
to be in here today, alive and energetic." Charlene Celona
has a deadly form of leukemia. She's a Methodist -- devoted to a
Catholic Saint. Charlene Celona of South Seaville, N.J."17
months into remission now...that alone is a miracle." Padre
Pio was a Capuchine friar in Italy who died in 1968. He was canonized
in 2002. Devotion to him internationally now rivals that of Our
Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
He's usually portrayed wearing fingerless gloves, because he suffered
from stigmata -- that is, he bled from the hands for no apparent
medical reason. His gave his followers these instructions: pray,
hope, and don't worry.
got the idea for building a shrine several years ago when she toured
Italy, and says she saw visions of Padre Pio everywhere she went.
When she returned home, she talked to her husband, and they donated
ten acres of farmland, which became home to this shrine.
of Buena N.J. "A vision came, that he should be here on a piece
of marble. That was my vision."
Every Wednesday night, Padre Pio's followers pray the rosary. Those
seeking help line up to be blessed with oil, touch relics and ask
for intercession. Padre Pio has many ties to this area; two churches
and a mission recently merged to form a new parish bearing his name.
But it's the talk of miracles that calls visitors to the shrine.
24, 2003 -Faithful reflect on death of saint Honoring Padre Pio.
thedailyjournal.com Buena-- The death of Padre Pio was remembered
Tuesday night in a ceremony at the shrine here that honors him. The event marked the
35th anniversary of Padre Pio's death at San Giovanni Rotondo in
Italy. To commemorate
Feast Day-- the saint's passage to heaven -- devotees gathered for
a procession and recitation of the rosary at the Landisville shrine.
was a show of gratitude for the saint, who has performed many miracles,
said shrine co-founder Marie Dandrea. Padre Pio was canonized St.
Pio of Pietrelcina last year.
September 9, 2003 -Shrine gets heavenly makeover Loyal
follower donates time, work to Padre Pio monument.
thedailyjournal.com Written by Gisello Sotelo - Major
changes are planned for the Padre Pio shrine in Buena. Organizers
hope to build an open-air pavilion under which 500 people can pray,
even when it rains. Buena- As his daughter struggles to overcome
the cancerous tumors in her brain, John Canuso is praying for a
miracle. As he does so, he's trying to make miracles of his own.
of a private Haddonfield construction company, is embarking on an
ambitious expansion plan for the Landisville shrine devoted to the
renowned Catholic saint Padre Pio. Though
the project remains in the incipient design stages, Canuso has a
concrete image in mind. He
proposes to build a giant open-air pavilion around the shrine with
adjoining "subchapels." The shrine itself would remain
in its present form, but the pavilion would be large enough to hold
up to 500 people.
would be devoted to a different Catholic saint and include an enclosed
kneeling area for private worship. And a one-acre garden would allow
worshippers to pray the rosary in a scenic setting. The project,
which has received some early support from borough officials, could
well surpass the $1 million mark, Canuso said. The money would be
raised through donations to the Padre Pio Foundation. Canuso plans
to donate his labor and expertise, and hopes others will do the
But money is
no object for this devoted father, whose love cannot be measured
in dollar amounts. He hopes his tribute to Padre Pio, whose credited
by many as having miraculous healing powers, will spur the saint's
intercession in curing his ailing 39-year-old daughter. "I'm
motivated," Canuso said. "I've got a kid that I've got
to get cured." Canuso
also built the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia as his
daughter, 9 years old at the time, fought off leukemia.
If the project
here comes to fruition, it wouldn't be the first miracle credited
to Padre Pio. Padre Pio
earned the sainthood last year in a canonization ceremony attended
by local residents Peter and Marie Dandrea, who stood among thousands
of onlookers at the Vatican. The couple own the 10-acre corner parcel
where Padre Pio's statue reverently overlooks the three-way intersection
of Route 40, Central Avenue and Weymouth-Malaga Road.
would provide shelter from the elements, say the Dandreas, who are
ecstatic about Canuso's plans. Currently, benches fronting the shrine
are uncovered. The rosary service is held at St. Michael's Church
in Minotola during rainstorms and winter months. Canuso
originally proposed the construction of an entire chapel. But that
idea was abandoned chucked because such an edifice might not be
able to accommodate the large number of Padre Pio devotees that
visit the shrine daily. Every Wednesday night, hundreds pray the
rosary before the outstretched arms of Padre Pio's likeness. That
doesn't count the daily, far-off travelers who trickle in to pay
homage to the reverent statue.
has already received the blessing of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who
leads the Diocese of Camden, said Canuso. The Dandreas await a similar
response from DiMarzio's successor, said Peter Dandrea. Developers
have already obtained a preliminary endorsement from the borough's
Planning Board. At the request of developers, the board has agreed
to recommend a zoning change to the mayor and Borough Council, which
has final say over the municipality's zones.
The shrine is
on land now zoned for agriculture use. The proposed change to residential
zoning would allow the construction of churches and other places
of worship akin to that being proposed at the shrine, said project
engineer Steve Filippone.
The road ahead
for the expanded shrine remains long. If the council approves the
zone change, developers will then return to the Planning Board for
site plan approvals. The Pinelands Commission also would have to
sign off on the project because the corner land parcel lies in the
state-protected Pinelands region. Canuso
aims to begin construction sometime next spring or summer. Padre
Pio followers said they're certain the project could bolster their
already fast-growing numbers.
you add, the more people it will bring," says Mary Higgins,
69, a Padre Pio worshipper from Wilmington, Del, who visited the
shrine Monday. "It's kind of special, you know?"
-Bishop blesses shrine to Padre Pio
the Buenavistatownship.org - Diane Stahl remembers driving by the
corner of Route 40 and Central Avenue last summer and seeing a few
people praying beside a small worksite in the field there. She
had read something at the time about a shrine being built to honor
the mystic Italian monk Padre Pio, and so she had her husband pull
over. The people asked if they had come to help build it, and her
husband, John, who works for a building contractor in Philadelphia,
thought of his boss and told them he knew someone who could.
at that point, there was a smell of flowers," Stahl, of
Williamstown, Gloucester County, said Sunday morning, referring
to Pio's ability to make his presence known with the scent of violets. "And you can see, there aren't any flowers around here." Moments before Stahl
recounted the story, about 200 people watched as Bishop Nicholas
DiMarzio, head of the Camden Diocese, blessed the nearly completed
a man who was no stranger to suffering in life, and yet he was happy,"
DiMarzio said of Pio, who died more than three decades ago and was
declared a saint just last month. "I'm sure that everyone who
comes here will find happiness in their lives." The
monument was inspired by resident Maria Dandrea's visit with her
husband, Peter, to Italy four years ago. She says she returned knowing
only that she had to build it and, since then, people and businesses
from near and far - like John Stahl's employer - have lined up with
donations of the material and labor to do so.
statue of Pio now stands beneath a 30-foot canopy of steel and stucco,
together set on a 10-acre lot against a backdrop of fields lined
with rows of squash. Although
people have been gathering to pray at the site each week for some
time. "We started
the rosary every Wednesday night, first it was five people, then
10, 25," said Emily Lepore, Peter Dandrea's sister. "Last
Wednesday, there were 150 people here and they came from all over
- Mays Landing, Toms River."
of Vineland, Cumberland County, grew up in the house that once stood
on the site. She said her parents often had guests for meals, many
of them strangers, and that the shrine seemed to continue the tradition.
"Every day you see people stopping here to pray," Lepore
said, "when some don't even go to church."
Frances Sbrocco, who drove three hours from her Bergen County home
for the occasion, acknowledged the difference between churches and
places like the shrine - which she considers less about religion
than about faith. "It's just a good feeling in your heart to
know that you could be part of something like this," Sbrocco
Born in Pietrelcina
in 1887, Pio was a Capuchin friar who lived at the San Giovanni
Rotondo in southern Italy. His followers say he made miraculous
cures, could prophesize and "bilocate," or appear in two
places at once. His followers
also believe he was the first priest in the history of the Roman
Catholic Church to bear the stigmata - bleeding wounds on his hands,
feet and side that mirror those suffered by Christ when he was crucified.
In 1947, he
heard the confession of the young Polish priest who would become
Pope John Paul II, the same priest who would beatify Pio in 1999
- marking the last formal step before Pio, who died in 1968, was
made a saint. "Apparently
one person can make a difference," Tom Howell, 55, of Berlin,
Camden County, said of Dandrea's work. "This shows that no
matter what things happen here, what bad things happen, that God's
good will go on."
couldn't agree more. She said shortly after she met the Dandreas,
her 18-year-old nephew, Tom, was diagnosed with leukemia last
August and told he needed a bone marrow transplant. So she and her
husband joined others at the shrine to say the rosary for him each
week, and soon, she said, doctors found nine donor matches - when
chances are usually about one in 50,000. And then, when Tom returned
to the hospital for pre-testing before the transplant, she added, "they said they weren't going to do it, that there was no
no doubt in our minds, no doubt at all," Stahl said, turning
to the shrine's other visitors. "They come in tears because
they hurt, and when they leave, they have tears of joy because they
have faith, because they believe."