In October 2016, Patrizio Buanne visited San Antonio during his fifth U.S. national tour, performing at the Tobin Center for the first time. The audience fell in love with the young Neapolitan pop crooner with the big voice, and Buanne himself fell in love with San Antonio — he found inspiration in its culture, spirituality and history. Having heard about the St. Padre Pio Pietrelcina Shrine, located in the northern part of San Antonio, Buanne arranged a meeting with the Shrine’s pastor, Msgr. Patrick J. Ragsdale, VU.
Buanne’s devotion to St. Padre Pio had begun 19 years earlier, during a time of great upheaval in his life. His father had passed away in 1996, and while suffering this emotional loss, he endured physical pain caused by the severe gastritis that would eventually lead to emergency surgery. In the midst of these events he would travel to Poland, still recovering from his surgery, to sing for Pope John Paul II during an opening Mass with 85,000 people in attendance. This performance led to his first single, named Angelo di Dio in 1997.
Two years later, family friends in Naples, Italy would be involved in a serious car accident. The only part of the car that was not shattered was a sticker depicting the then unknown future saint. The friends were convinced Padre Pio had saved their lives. Shortly after the accident, Buanne would travel to Pietrelcina, to see the small town where Padre Pio walked and prayed. While there, he visited a shop where he was surprised to hear a familiar voice — the voice of Padre Pio. In the background the shop was playing a CD of a recorded Mass that Padre Pio celebrated in 1968.
Despite not having heard of Padre Pio before Luciano’s accident, Buanne knew that voice, as he had heard it after his own emergency operation a few years before. That moment in the Pietrelcina gift shop would lead Patrizio Buanne to devote himself to Padre Pio, who would be canonized just a few years later, in 2002, by John Paul II. In learning more about St. Padre Pio, Buanne discovered that the saint received his first stigmata on Sept. 20, coincidentally also Buanne’s birthday.
Representatives of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina Shrine in San Antonio, along with Patrizio Buanne’s team, are working hard to bring the multi-platinum recording artist back to San Antonio for a concert benefitting the shrine. To learn more about Patrizio Buanne’s music career, visit his website at www.patriziobuanne.com or follow him on www.facebook.com/patriziobuanneofficial.
On April 23, 2004, the parish level was raised to a diocesan shrine to more fully honor the remarkable man of God.
St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina Shrine
Pastor: Reverend Monsignor Patrick J. Ragsdale, V.U.
3843 Bulverde Pkwy.
San Antonio, TX 78259
Phone: (210) 497-6101
To read more, view the September 15, 2017 issue of Today’s Catholic.