WASHINGTON (CNS) — Actor Gary Sinise and former ambassador Jim Nicholson have been honored with the St. Pio Award from the St. Pio Foundation.

Sinise and Nicholson received the awards May 27 during foundation’s second St. Pio Award Ceremony. The ceremony was hosted at the Cafe Milano in Washington.

The awards themselves were portraits of the recipients shown with Padre Pio, which were painted by the celebrated artist Maestro Oronzo Lupo.


The St. Pio Award is presented to individuals who exemplify the St. Pio Foundation’s mission, which is to provide service to “those in need of relief from suffering.” The New York-based foundation, www.SaintPioFoundation.org, is named for St. Padre Pio, a Capuchin friar who bore the stigmata of Jesus, was a mystic and had a reputation as a powerful intercessor for divine favors.

Sinise, while known for his many award-winning roles in films such as “Forrest Gump,” is also well-known for his support and advocacy for veterans around the world.

“I’m honored to receive the St. Pio Award,” said Sinise. “I appreciate their (the St. Pio Foundation’s) passion to support our U.S. veterans.”

Sinise’s foundation provides unique services designed to educate, entertain, strengthen and rehabilitate veterans, first responders and their families.

Nicholson was the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See for four years, 2001-2005, before being knighted by St. John Paul II for his commitment to human rights issues. He was U.S. secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2005 to 2007.

“It’s very humbling for me to be honored in his (Padre Pio’s) name,” said Nicholson.

Nicholson has also served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee,1997-2001; chairman of the Federal Interagency Council on Homelessness; and as director of New Community Development Corp.

The awards were presented by actor Joe Mantegna and Westchester County, N.Y., Executive Robert Astorino.