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Rare Relics Of Saint Padre Pio Expected To Draw Thousands

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The relics of a beloved Catholic saint are expected to draw a crowd of thousands in New York City on Sunday.

It's been nearly 50 years since the death of Saint Padre Pio, as a collection rarely made public will be on display at Saint Patrick's Cathedral.

It's a big day for Catholics in the city. Followers from near and far are expected to gather at the cathedral to pray and get their eyes on the very special collection from Italy.

Padre Pio is a name and image you'll find on prayer cards and statues all over the world. It's a constant in the everyday lives of the faithful, as seen on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

READ: Relics Of St. Padre Pio On Display At St. Patrick's Cathedral

"How can we be, too, in life, with our fellow neighbor and share that charity," Chris Borgatti of Borgatti's Ravioli and Egg Noodles told CBS2.

Pio's sainthood is a daily lesson for Catholics everywhere, but the relics on display in Midtown will take that to a whole new level on Sunday.

"A collection was never traveled to the United States of America, and actually a tour of the relics has never been organized before," Luciano Lamonarca of the St. Pio Foundation said.

On Sunday and Monday, thousands will pray before a cloak and glove which once belonged to the late saint. They've traveled all the way from Italy to Saint Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue for devotees to get a rare glimpse of the private collection.

"The understanding of his holiness, and his connection -- spiritual and mystical connection with God. Making a person realize there's more to life than just the everyday," Monsignor Robert Richie from Saint Patrick's said.

The special occasion marks 50 years since his death. The Franciscan friar, now beloved, was not always accepted in the Church.

Saint Pio was said to have the stigmata on his hands, a constant bleeding believed to be the wounds of the crucified Christ. For a while, the Church didn't believe him, and banned him from preaching.

But Saint Pio slowly gained followers in the masses. 300,000 people showed up for his canonization in 2002.

The relics will officially be on display starting at 10:15 a.m. They'll be brought in during a special mass with the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and the Sistine Chapel choir.

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