Father William

The following comes from a May 1 story by Jim Graves in Catholic San Francisco.

….Franciscan Father Guglielmo “William” Lauriola, 86, pastor emeritus of Immaculate Conception Church in San Francisco, grew up in Monte Sant’ Angelo, 16 miles east of San Giovanni Rotondo. A lay brother from the friary would come to his father’s store seeking donations for the community. The family began making regular bus trips to the friary in the 1930s. Father Willliam became a Franciscan and visited Padre Pio until his death in 1968….

“I remember as a boy I was a bit scared by his stigmata. He’d tell me not to look at it. I was worried that it caused him a lot of pain. You could see the suffering on his face; it was almost visible. He seemed to particularly suffer on Fridays. I’d ask him, ‘Why do you have to suffer so much?’ He’d tell me, ‘These wounds are to make up for my sins and the sins of others.’ I told him that my uncle was a doctor, and I would ask my uncle for some medicine to help him. Padre Pio would say, ‘No, medicine won’t do any good.’

“[His Masses] were very devout, particularly during the consecration. He’d say the words of consecration very slowly: ‘Hoc … est … enim … corpus … meum.’ As he elevated the host, his hand trembled a bit. I didn’t spend much time looking up during the consecration, however. When the bell rang, we’d bow our heads.

“….I was traveling in a small boat to an island off Korea. We were caught in a big storm, and I didn’t know if we’d survive. I started calling on Padre Pio to help us, and we made it. I think he knew I needed him.

….I’ve been doing exorcisms in the archdiocese since 1970. I always pray to him, ‘Padre Pio, help make my faith in Jesus strong and help these people who are coming to me.’ He helps me.”

To read entire story, click here.