"...And What is Lacking of the Sufferings of Christ, I Fill up in my Flesh for his Body, Which is the Church..." (Col.1:24)

Monday, May 7, 2018


     This is about a Brooklyn priest I saw and met only once and will never forget. It's from a long lost memoir I found recently and I'd like to make it known...
      Father George Wilder  was the pastor and only priest at St. Gabriel the Archangel in East New York (Brooklyn), which was the parish of my Aunt Betty, who died on Palm Sunday, April 8, 1990.  It was the day of her burial.  We, the family, were waiting in limousines and cars outside the church because Father Wilder had not yet arrived for the Mass. After a time, we saw him coming  across the street from somewhere, walking fast then half running and looking anxious because he saw us and knew we had been waiting. He hurried into  the church...

     At the Mass, Father Wilder was having difficulty -- his voice was there but not coming easily, he coughed several times, he took long pauses between some words, and leaned his elbows on the lectern  for support. Most notably was the way he shifted his weight from foot to foot. I thought something was wrong, but not having seen him before, I didn't  know his speaking style or habits. Still, there was something in the realm of an emanation from him as, in his homily, he consoled Betty's daughters and grandchildren in their sorrow. 

     He was waiting for us in the back of the church as we were leaving. My recollection is of his white hair and kind face as he greeted us. I thanked him for the beautiful homily and when we were back in the limousine I mentioned that it must have been his thousandth homily for the grieving -- grabbing at any high number -- and that it seemed fresh and caring as if it were his first.

    I think it was days later that we learned he had been undergoing chemotherapy and had just come from a treatment that morning of Aunt Betty's Mass.  A few months later there was his obituary in the Tablet.  He died on July 4th, three months after Betty's Mass, age forty-seven. I remembered his lost voice, which I now realized was struggling...I  saw again his shifting feet... as Christ might have pushed Himself up the beam of the Cross to aid His breathing and relieve the pain.   I remembered Father Wilder's homily of consolations and saw again his anxious face,  so concerned for us because he was late . These are the things I know and witnessedbut there is so much more I can only imagine.     

     No one can tell me we weren't in the presence of a saint in action -- one of the many hidden ones who will never be raised publicly to the altar, but who suddenly and gently touch and shock our faith with new life by these 'snapshot' moments -- Father Wilder's half-running post-chemo steps not to keep his flock waiting, his homily easing the pain of losing a beloved...while he, himself, was dying.

      Father Jose Agustin Orellana, pastor of St. Gabriel's, celebrates a Mass for Father Wilder every July 4th.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Here We Go Again...Padre Pio Did Not Write or Predict or Prophesy Anything About The Three Days of Darkness

     For many years there have been rampant references to a letter Padre Pio was supposed to have written, predicting and describing the dire things that will happen during a coming Three Days of Darkness, and what one is to do to be safe from this chastisement. Despite the many denials and corrections -- that Padre Pio did not make this prediction -- by the Capuchins of Padre Pio's friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, who knew him well and knew him best, this false story still persists today, out of control. It just keeps being repeated as though it's an absolute fact. https://mysticpost.com/2017/10/padre-pio-three-days-darkness-keep-windows-well-covered-not-look/ There are quite a number of videos on YouTube, as well.

Let's be clear at the very start:

Padre Pio never wrote such a letter!

Padre Pio himself called the letter "a forgery."

Padre Pio never predicted The Three Days of Darkness

     Reading the prophecy-letter claimed to be from Padre Pio, one can clearly tell it isn't even Padre Pio's way of speaking. Or of predicting. If you read the many friary memoirs about St. Padre Pio available, you will sense our real and true Padre Pio. If you read his letters to his spiritual directors (Letters  I ), you will know that Padre Pio was not one to hand out such prophecies.

     I have personally had many phone discussions about this with Father Joseph Pius Martin, OFM, Cap. (RIP 2000), who, as Brother Bill Martin, assisted Padre Pio in Pio's last years of life. After Padre Pio's death, Bill Martin was ordained a Capuchin priest and spent the rest of his life in San Giovanni Rotondo making the Padre known to the world as editor of The Voice of Padre Pio (the friary's magazine), as well as guide for the thousands of pilgrimages that visited Padre Pio's tomb over the years. You can learn about Father Joseph Pius's loyalty and filial love for Padre Pio and how well he knew the Padre by reading the obituary for him (d. 5/3/2000) by Fr. Paolo Cuvino, Provincial Minister of the Capuchin Friars at the time, on this website www.first.padrepiosworld.net/page6.php

     I sent Father Joseph every item I ran across in Catholic papers attributing "The Three Days..." to Padre Pio, and Father Joseph wrote many a letter to newspapers and magazines trying to stop the hoax -- for, as you will see, that is what it was.

     One who also worked very hard at reaching people who printed this false story was Joseph Peterson, a spiritual son of Padre Pio since World War II,. He visited Padre Pio yearly and also knew the truth.

     Finally, and most importantly, another Capuchin, Father John Schug, OFM, Cap., (RIP) a Padre Pio biographer and friend of the Capuchin friary where Padre Pio lived, thoroughly researched the story on how this hoax and forgery got started. His article was published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, June, 1998. http://www.hprweb.com/ which I, in turn, published on my website on January 3, 2015. http://www.first.padrepiosworld.net/page32.php

     Father Schug's article was precise and comprehensive; and cleared the air on the subject once and for all, for anyone who would read it. But it lies dead unless it can be found. That is why I repeat excerpts below, on this, my blog, hoping it will get around... But it's like the release of feathers from a pillow from atop a windswept mountain. You never can get all those feathers back.

     Once again, here is a photocopy of excerpts from Father Schug's article in Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

     One voice among many who protested the
   alleged Padre Pio connection with the Three
   Days of Darkness was Joseph Peterson. We

    To continue to report this falsity about Padre Pio can taint and put in doubt the true, supernatural graces and charisms of this great mystic of the Catholic Church. This frustrates, saddens and yes, angers me -- I know how hard Father Joseph Pius Martin, Father Dominic Meyer, Father John Schug, Joe Peterson, and all the Capuchins of Pio's friary tried to right this wrong.

     This is not to deny or question any of the other prophecies of "The Three Days of Darkness" by saints of the past, as described in Fr.Albert Hebert's book, The Three Days of Darkness. This is merely to uphold the truth as known by the friars and historians of Padre Pio's friary. You are urged to contact them with your questions at:

                                    The Voice of Padre Pio
                                     Piazzale Santa Maria delle Grazie, 4
                                     71013 San Giovanni Rotondo (FG) Italy

                                     e-mail: thevoice@vocedipadrepio.com