Mantegna hopes to produce a feature film on the life of Padre Pio.
Mantegna, best known for his performances in The Godfather Part III and his 15-year stint on the hit TV show Criminal Minds, accepted his new role in a brief acceptance video he recorded from his home in isolation.
In a press release announcing this latest honorary appointment, President of the Pio Foundation Luciano Lamonarca praised Mantegna, writing:
“I am very proud to have Joe Mantegna as our Honorary Advocate, and I am very grateful to him for all he has done to help the Saint Pio Foundation to galvanize attention on the life of Padre Pio. He and actor Gary Sinise received the Saint Pio Award in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend in 2015 and 2016 as they have both been dedicated for many years to presenting the National Memorial Day Concert at Capitol Hill, the most noteworthy national event that honors active duty soldiers, veterans, wounded warriors, and all those who have given their lives for this country and their families.
“Having spent his entire life in the Puglia region of Southern Italy, Padre Pio formed close, personal bonds with American soldiers, who liberated his country. So, too, Joe, who originally came from Puglia, has given himself freely and generously to today’s American service men and women. I am sure that Padre Pio himself would be very happy to have Joe Mantegna aboard.”
Mantegna has long held a strong devotion to the life and works of Padre Pio. For over a decade, he has been working to produce a feature film on the popular saint, which he told Aleteia in a 2017 interview is still in the preliminary stages, but perhaps now that Criminal Minds has ended there will be more time for such faithful endeavors.
In the same interview, the esteemed actor of film, television, stage, and voice said of Padre Pio’s influence in his own life:
“I think, first of all, being an Italian American I’ve been exposed to the existence of Padre Pio for a long time and being raised a Catholic, it’s all part of the natural progression. Then, as it turns out, a good portion of my family resides in Italy in a town very close to where Padre Pio lived and performed many of his miracles. So it was almost serendipitous that there would be some sort of connection, and then this all sort of happened and came about. It almost seemed, well, I believe in fate and sometimes it’s meant to be.”
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