Padre Pio's Shrine Now 2nd Only to Vatican

Italy's most famous saint displaces Lourdes for religious tourists
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted May 8, 2008 6:12 PM CDT
Padre Pio's Shrine Now 2nd Only to Vatican
In this photo released Monday, March 3, 2008, by "Voce Padre Pio" organization, Archbishop Domenico D'Ambrosio, left, and other priests look at the coffin containing the remains of Padre Pio.   (AP Photo)

Move over, Lourdes. Padre Pio’s shrine in southern Italy is now the world’s second-largest religious tourist destination, reports the ANSA news agency. About 9 million tourists will visit the saint’s body, a million more than the French site and second only to the Vatican.

Followers believe Pio, made a saint in 2002, bore the wounds of Christ on his hands for at least a half-century. His glass-sided coffin will be on display until September 2009, netting the Padre Pio shrine about $160 million a year. (More Italy stories.)

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