Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina a Saint on June 16, 2002 in one of the largest attended liturgies ever in the Vatican’s history. The Pope remarked that Padre Pio’s spirituality and suffering are a valuable model for modern times. The Pope reemphasized his message at the end of the canonization liturgy by announcing Padre Pio’s feast day, September 23rd, is an “obligatory memorial” in the church’s general liturgical calendar.
The ranking of obligatory memorial accorded to Padre Pio means the celebration must be observed in Masses and the Liturgy of the Hours on the day it occurs unless an observance that takes precedence – a solemnity or feast – falls on the same day. St. Maximillian Kolbe, also in the Franciscan tradition, is the only other 20th century saint whose memorial is obligatory.