With spring upon us, we begin thinking of summer and for most of us that means vacationing at the South Jersey shore. In Landisville, N.J., about 30 miles from the shore, a beautiful treasure greets travelers: The Padre Pio Shrine.
The shrine was established by Marie and Pete D’Andrea, owners of a well-known family farm in the area, after a trip to Italy in 1997. It was during that trip that Marie and Pete made a visit to San Giovanni Rotondo to pray at the tomb of the then-Venerable Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, and their lives were deeply touched and transformed forever.
The shrine was established by Marie and Pete D’Andrea, owners of a well-known family farm in the area, after a 1997 trip to Italy, during which they visited Padre Pio’s tomb.
I had the privilege of meeting Marie not long after she and her husband returned to the United States, and was inspired to come to the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, Pa. Marie described her visit to San Giovanni Rotondo, her kneeling at the tomb of Padre Pio and the great devotion that she developed along with a feeling that was growing in her heart.
She said she would go each day to a tract of land on the family farm to pray the Rosary and ask for guidance. Soon Marie found herself accompanied by several friends, and she became inspired to create a memorial to Padre Pio. Her husband Pete donated the piece of ground upon which Marie prayed each day and soon work began on the monument to Padre Pio.
Marie contacted local architect Ron Angelo to design the shrine. While in the midst of his creative process, Angelo phoned me at the Centre. He said he hoped that Padre Pio would be pleased with his work and I assured him that Padre Pio would be pleased and that somehow Padre Pio would let him know.
I received a telephone call a few years ago from a dear friend in South Jersey and frequent visitor to the Shrine in Landisville. She mentioned that Ron Angelo had passed away, and sent me a copy of his obituary. What jumped out at me was that he passed away on Sept. 23, 2018 – the anniversary of the death of Padre Pio. My ﬁrst thought was that Padre Pio was very pleased with all that Ron Angelo did to help further his mission to save souls.
It was my honor and privilege to serve as vice president and personal assistant to the founder and president of the National Centre for Padre Pio, my mother, the late Mrs. Vera M. Calandra, and her successor, my father, Harry E. Calandra, from the time I was 17 until my 60th birthday. And thus the privilege to meet and to work with countless souls who came to know Padre Pio either through the work of the Centre directly or subsequently, like Marie and Pete D’Andrea, has enriched my life in so many ways.
I urge you not to miss this lovely treasure, a sanctuary of peace and prayer as you travel to and from the Jersey Shore.
The Wednesday evening Rosary recitation will begin again on June 17 this year and is always well attended. Visitors are invited to join in and become a part of the “sweet chain linking us to God.” You too will come to understand what Padre Pio meant when he said, “Once I lift up a soul, I will never let it down.”
Contact Julia Calandra-Lineberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU GO
Padre Pio Shrine is located at U.S. 40 and Central Avenue in Landisville, N.J. Visitors are welcome anytime. Learn more at stpadrepioshrinenj.org