Over the past couple years, EWTN viewers have enjoyed “Miracle Hunter” Michael O’Neill’s series “They Might Be Saints,” which chronicles the untold story of Americans who are on the path to possible canonization. Now, thrill to his newest show for EWTN: “The Miracles of Padre Pio, which premieres at 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 23 following a special 8 p.m. ET “EWTN Live” interview with O’Neill.
And that’s just the first of many such shows viewers will enjoy, as O’Neill has recently joined the EWTN Team and will now be producing this type of content exclusively for EWTN. You’ll be able to listen to him on a new radio show called “The Miracle Hunter,” which will premiere at 7 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 3 on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. You’ll be able to see O’Neill himself on various EWTN radio and television shows, and you’ll be able to view even more episodes of “They Might Be Saints,” as well as a Dec. 12 special entitled “The Miracles of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
However, the story behind the filming of “The Miracles of Padre Pio,” which airs next week, is as fascinating as the program itself.
“I’ve studied miracles for many years,” O’Neill said. “Three of the all-time best I’ve ever heard of are all in this piece!”
Like many people, O’Neill said he was very aware of the supernatural phenomena and miracles attributed to Padre Pio. In fact, he said two of the most incredible interviews of his life occurred at the National Center for Padre Pio in Bartow, Pa. There, he heard the story of Vera Marie Calandra, whose bladder was removed by future U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. In 1968, Calandra was blessed by Padre Pio and her bladder grew back!
He also heard the story of Paul Walsh, who had been irreversibly brain damaged and had slipped into a coma after being in a car wreck. He had a vision of Padre Pio while he was in his hospital bed and was miraculously cured.
O’Neill was aware of all of this the day he arrived in Italy’s San Giovanni Rotondo for the 50th Anniversary Feast of Padre Pio.
“This was before coronavirus, so hundreds of thousands of people were there,” O’Neill said. “I had my summer crew with me and we filmed a bit about Padre Pio.”
However, more than the miracles and the bilocation for which Padre Pio is known, the people O’Neill spoke with at San Giovanni Rotondo were most enthusiastic about the work the famous priest did to build “a very modern and completely Catholic hospital,” which is known as Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza. O’Neill was able to get a tour of the hospital, and to interview some of the doctors and administrators who work there.
O’Neill said to one of them: “I heard the miracle used for Padre Pio’s canonization happened in this hospital. Is there a single person still here who might be able to tell a bit of that story? The woman [I was speaking to] got on the phone, called upstairs, and said to me, “You’re in luck! The doctor who did the surgery that day is here today; he is available right NOW, and he speaks English!”
O’Neill raced upstairs with his camera crew and sat down with Dr. Alfredo Del Gaudio, Chief of the Department of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation, who had an “incredible testimony.” The surgeon said he was operating on Matteo Colella, when he died on the surgery table. He immediately began praying to Padre Pio.
Said O’Neill: “The doctor said he gave a heart massage to this patient for one-and-a-half hours. In all of his 20 plus years of medicine, he said he had never seen a patient who has come back to life after that who didn’t have brain damage and other physical malfunctions. The boy’s heart rate was at 0, and it came right back up. When boy came to, he said he had had a vision of Padre Pio himself, who interacted with the boy while he was out. So [the boy] had his own vision of Padre Pio while everyone was praying to Padre Pio, including the surgeon!”
But O’Neill’s interview with the surgeon wasn’t the end of the incredible string of “coincidences” that he experienced that day.
Someone told him they had a connection to the father and mother of the miracle boy and asked if O’Neill wanted their contact information. He texted the mother and said he was only going to be in San Giovanni Rotondo for one day and asked the couple could meet with him. She said she was sorry, but they were very busy that day. Nevertheless, O’Neill said if anything changed to let him know.
“At 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., they called and said, ‘We’re available. If you can come right now, we will tell you about the miracle of our son!”
Again, O’Neill found himself racing to make an interview, this time at the home of the miracle boy’s parents. At that late hour, he even managed to bring an interpreter because the couple only spoke Italian! “Everything fell into place in a beautiful way,” he said.
You truly do not want to miss O’Neill’s beautiful recreations of each of these miracle stories when “The Miracles of Padre Pio” premieres at 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 23 on EWTN!