The Nashville Padre Pio Prayer Group was formed during Holy Week in March of 2018. Paul and Mildred Chen, the couple leading the group, made a pilgrimage to Holy Land between Dec. 2017 to Jan. 2018 because of an answered prayer from St. Pio. Fr. Terry O’Connell of Limerick, Ireland was the spiritual guide for the Holy Land Pilgrimage. By God-incidence, Cindy Russo from Cleveland Ohio was also on the Holy Land Pilgrimage with a different tour group. Fr. Terry invited Cindy Russo to give his tour group a talk regarding the miraculous encounter of Cindy Russo with St. Padre Pio. In 2010, St. Pio appeared to Cindy Russo in Rome Italy in a small church across the Trevi Fountain. St. Pio cured her nephew who was dying of cancer. Cindy Russo has the pair of gloves, chalice, and altar cross used by Padre Pio during his masses. After the Holy Land Pilgrimage, Paul and Mildred invited Fr. Terry O’Connell and Cindy Russo for Holy Week to bring the relics of St. Padre Pio to the Nashville area. Cindy Russo is also the US Representative to Rome Italy for the Disciples of St. Padre Pio. One of her mission is to start new Padre Pio Prayer Groups across the US. This is how the Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville started.
Our members are from different parishes through out the Nashville vicinity, and the Holy Spirit guided us to Fr. Dan Reehil who also had a miraculous encounter with St. Padre Pio. St. Pio appeared to Fr. Dan as a beggar in Lithuania before he became a priest. Fr. Dan Reehil is our 1st spiritual director. Due to the new assignment of Fr. Dan, our spiritual director starting 2020 is Fr. Andrew Bulso. Our group meets at St. Edward first Saturday of each month. Many miraculous incidences with St. Pio have also occurred to our members.
Our prayer group has the 1st class relic of Padre Pio – bandage that covered the wound of the transverberation of the heart in Padre Pio’s side, and a St. Pio glove with blood that covered his stigmata. We also have the feather from St. Pio’s pillow as a boy before he went and became a priest. We received the first class bone relic of St. Anthony of Padua. We have first class bone relic of Blessed Francis Seelos. We have stones from St. Michael’s cave where St. Michael appeared in the year 490, plus other relics not listed here. All our first class relics have certification. The relics will be at our monthly meeting for veneration. All members can obtain a relic for an extended time.
During our recent pilgrimage to Ireland visiting the Shrine of Padre Pio – Dublin, Paul and Mildred met a Franciscan Brother Alfie Ryan who lived next room to Padre Pio in 1967-1968. He has the last glove worn by St. Padre Pio to cover his stigmata. He told our pilgrimage group that St. Pio cares deeply about his Padre Pio Prayer Groups. St. Pio takes on his prayer group members as his spiritual children. St. Pio said, “I love my Spiritual Children as much as my own soul, and even more. To my spiritual children, my prayers for you will never be lacking…. If my spiritual children ever goes astray, I shall leave my flock and seek him out.”
Our members often attend as a family, and St. Pio said, “I shall stand at the gate of Paradise until all my spiritual children have entered.” St. Pio also said, “Once I take a soul on, I also take on their entire family as my spiritual children.” With all the miracles we experienced, we know St. Padre Pio is keeping his promises. St. Pio said, “When I am in heaven, I will be able to do more.”
The Nashville Padre Pio prayer group as Spiritual Children of St. Padre Pio continues this call today as community to meet in prayer in a world which so desperately needs it. As Padre Pio stated, “Prayer is the best weapon we have, and the key to God’s heart.”
This prayer group has been officially sanctioned by the Diocese of Nashville, and registered by the International Center of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Spiritual Director: Father Andrew Bulso
Meeting Place: Saint Edward Catholic Church
188 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN 37211
Group Leader: Paul T Chen
Contact email: TMAJCHEN@YAHOO.COM
Meeting Time: First Saturday of Every Month – You may join in at anytime….
7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. – Adoration, Confession
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. – Mass
8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – Rosary
9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Recitation of Padre Pio prayers
9:30 am – 10:30 am – Speaker
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Discussion and Dismissal