The Retreat was led by Fr. Louis Maggiore, the National Director of the Shrine from the 10th to the 12th August, 2012. The theme was to try and discover what the Sacrament of Confession really meant to Padre Pio and what it was about his life that drew people to him through this Sacrament.
Eleven people from different parishes in our pastoral area went on the retreat and we were joined by other groups coming from St. Albans, the Midlands and as far afield as Scotland! Fr. Louis gave 5 talks, which proved to be inspiring, thought provoking and challenging. We all came away with a greater understanding of the immense value of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to make an effort to receive it regularly, on a monthly basis. Padre Pio invited all believers to confess at least once a week, saying “even if a room is closed, it is necessary to dust it after a week!”
Confession was the principal daily activity of Padre Pio. He had the ability to look within the souls of his penitents. There are many stories about Padre Pio and Confession e.g.
One day Padre Pio didn’t give absolution to a penitent and he told him “if you go to confess to another Priest to gain absolution you will go to hell together with him” He meant that the Sacrament of Confession is profaned by people that don’t want to change their lives. They are guilty in front of God.
One day a man told Padre Pio “Father, I tell lies when I am with friends in order to make everybody happy.” Padre Pio answered, “oh, do you want to go to hell by joking!”.
One day Padre Pio said to a penitent “when you gossip about a person it means that you have removed the person from your heart. But be aware, when you remove a man from your heart, Jesus also goes away from your heart with that man.”
Padre Pellegrino once asked Padre Pio, “Father, this morning you denied absolution to a lady who confessed to an abortion. Why have you been so rigorous with this poor unfortunate?” Padre Pio answered “the day in which people frightened by the economic boom, from physical damages or from economic sacrifices, will lose the horror of the abortion, it will be the most terrible day for humanity. Abortion is not only homicide but also suicide. And with these people we see on the point of committing two crimes … do we want to show our faith? Do we want to save them? “Why suicide?” asked Padre Pellegrino. Padre Pio answered, “You understand this suicide of the human race, if with the eye of reason, you could see the Heart populated by old men and depopulated by children; burnt as a desert.”