By Sarah Mac Donald - 09 May, 2015
The first recipient and guest of honour at the St Pio Foundation’s inaugural award ceremony later this month will be the Tony and Emmy-winning actor, producer, writer and director Joe Mantegna.
Mantegna is famous for his role in the film ‘The Godfather III’, and is currently starring in the hit CBS television series ‘Criminal Minds’ as FBI supervisory special agent David Rossi.
The award ceremony will take place in Washington on Friday 22 May, the day the people of Ireland will vote in the marriage referendum.
The actor is to star as St Padre Pio in a new film about the saint, which he is also slated to produce.
Mantegna and production partner Danny Ramm will make the film through their company Acquaviva Productions. It will be filmed in locations in Italy but made in English.
According to the film’s website, it “will highlight Padre Pio’s impact on the Catholic Church and the building of his hospital, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza in San Giovanni Rotondo, Puglia, Italy”.
Padre Pio was born Franceso Forgione in 1887, the son of peasant farmers in Campania in southern Italy. He died in 1968 and was canonised by Pope St John Paul II in 2002.
Joe Mantegna, who was born in Chicago in 1947 to parents from southern Italy – his father from Sicily and his mother was Apulia, said in a video appeal for funding for the film that Padre Pio as “one of the most extraordinary men of the 20th century” and said his life was “truly the stuff of legend”.
He added that, “Painstaking efforts will be made to recreate the time period, including the costumes, hairstyles and furniture, right down to the sandals on Padre Pio’s feet.”
The St Pio Award has been established to recognise the selfless and outstanding contribution to the Catholic Church of those individuals who have strongly committed to support the St Pio Foundation and its vision.
Joe Mantegna won’t be the only recipient of the St Pio Award that night.
The Foundation is also honouring Franco Nuschese, president of Georgetown Entertainment Group, board member of the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology and of the Global Virus Network, and Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the Order of Malta.
Welcoming remarks are due to be delivered by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the US Military Services and by Maestro Luciano Lamonarca, CEO of the Saint Pio Foundation.
The St Pio Foundation is a non-profit national charity organisation dedicated to the promotion of the spiritual charism of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, universally acclaimed as one of the most venerated contemporary saints of the Catholic Church.