On 22 September a new statue was blessed which will further enrich the artistic heritage of the sanctuary: it is a bronze donated by “The Padre Pio Foundation of America” which depicts San Michele and San Pio da Pietrelcina.
The presence of the Archangel in the life of the Saint with the stigmata has always been constant and, in some moments, essential. The work, created by Tim Schmalz, Canadian sculptor with “a sincere vocation to evangelize with art”, expresses, in fact, the intimate battle that marked the human and spiritual existence of the Capuchin who, thanks to the patronage of the Prince Celeste, he managed to drive the evil one away from himself. The humble Friar used to repeat: “Woe to me if it hadn’t been for St. Michael: by now you would have seen Padre Pio under the feet of Lucifer!”
The rite was presided over by Mons.Franco Moscone in the presence of a large representation of the American Foundation and a large number of pilgrims and local faithful: in the brief reflection, shared in English and Italian, the Archbishop of Manfredonia – Vieste – San Giovanni Rotondo indicated the two Saints as “heroes of peace who unite us in charity”.
The sculpture was placed on a stone base in the Atrium in front of the Chapel of Reconciliation.