The St. Pio Chapel started off as a small room in one of the office buildings that housed a golf pro shop. With the continuous promotion of devotion to St. Pio, more and more people visited the make-shift chapel, and we had to move it to a larger place. From having a chapel in a small office space with an office desk for an altar, the chapel is now large enough to fit around 500 church-goers at one time.
The chapel’s façade was inspired by the structure of the Church of Our Lady of Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. Its design represents the desire to bring St. Pio closer to the hearts, minds and souls of his spiritual children, by providing them with a roof that bears a resemblance to the church wherein St. Pio once celebrated mass, heard confessions and blessed the people.
An Italian Capuchin priest once visited the chapel and exclaimed, “Huh? I’m back in San Giovanni Rotondo!” the moment he saw the St. Pio Chapel. This is the kind of remark we are expecting from one who visits the chapel for the first time — that he would feel as if he were in Our Lady of Grace, the church where St. Pio stayed at in Italy.
During the construction, there have been numerous renovations before we were able to create the appearance of the original church, because the only basis we had were pictures taken from magazines or given by pilgrims. Creating the perfect ambiance was a priority because we were ever mindful of St. Pio’s reminder to “not embarrass him in any way.” Being a devotee of St. Pio comes with the responsibility to never put him in a bad light — and this became one of our inspirations while building the St. Pio Chapel.
The chapel is constantly undergoing improvements and the interior of the chapel as you currently see it is a dynamic picture of what is best at the moment or at present. In fact, a few devotees who regularly visit the chapel often comment that the chapel is never the same whenever they return. The changes don’t apply only to the interior structure, but even to the little details such as the altar vessels and linens, the candle stands, the arrangement of the pictures on the walls, and even the priests’ vestment — just to name a few. The renovations in the St. Pio chapel will never end for as long as there are still ways to make it more beautiful than it already is.
The Chapel Rooms
The Bishop Jesus Sison Memorial Hall can be accessed by taking the stairs located within the Calandra Room. This room serves as the audio-visual area wherein presentation and videos regarding St. Pio are regularly shown. This hall is named after the man who introduced the Capuchins to the Philippine Centre and donated the first relic glove of St. Pio.
The Rev. Fr. Alessio Parente Patio is the outdoor area behind the chapel, which houses the statue of St. Pio, as well as the candle-lighting stands wherein you can offer your prayers to St. Pio. The life-size Statue of St. Pio was replicated from a photo taken soon after he received the visible stigmata, and the wounds on both hands are emphasized in its intricate design. Also erected here is the statue of the crucified scourged Jesus Christ.
The gift shop provides devotees a variety of St. Pio items such as novenas, rosaries, medallions, statues, reading materials, and other religious items sold at reasonable prices. The novenas available are translated into Filipino and the different local dialects, as well as Mandarin and Spanish.
The Garden Angel Aviary is a small outdoor area located right outside the right annex of the main chapel (right side if facing the altar), and houses a collection of Guardian Angel figurines and live birds.