Holy relics to visit Antigo­nish

The Casket - - Wheels - SAM MAC­DON­ALD sam­mac­don­ald@the­cas­ket.ca

Antigo­nish will be one stop on a mod­ern­day pil­grim­age for the ven­er­a­ble relics of St. An­thony of Padua. Two relics of the Saint An­thony are com­ing to St. Ninian’s Parish.

Bishop Brian Dunn has given bless­ing to Friar Alessan­dro Ratti to visit Antigo­nish with the relics; St. An­thony of Padua’s float­ing rib and a portion of skin from the saint’s cheek.

The two relics have trav­eled around Europe and North and South Amer­ica, vis­it­ing parishes and be­ing ven­er­ated by the many mem­bers of the Catholic com­mu­nity – and many Catholic lead­ers.

In an ad­dress in Cologne, Ger­many, Aug. 18, 2005, Pope Bene­dict Emer­i­tus said, "By invit­ing use to ven­er­ate the mor­tal re­mains of the mar­tyrs and saints, the Church does not for­get that, in the end, th­ese are in­deed just hu­man bones, but they are bones that be­longed to in­di­vid­u­als touched by the liv­ing power of God."

"The relics of the saints are traces of that in­vis­i­ble but real pres­ence which sheds light upon the shad­ows of the world and re­veals the King­dom of Heaven in our midst."

When Pope Fran­cis was Arch­bishop Jorge Ber­goglio of Buenos Aires, he led a pa­rade through the cap­i­tal of Ar­gentina in 2000, car­ry­ing a reli­quary with one of St. An­thony’s relics.

Sis­ter Lucy of Fa­tima, one of the three seers of Fa­tima, ven­er­ated the very relics com­ing to the Antigo­nish dio­cese dur­ing her con­vent in Coim­bra, Por­tu­gal on the 800th an­niver­sary of the birth of St. An­thony.

The relics will be at St. Ninian’s Cathe­dral Nov. 10 from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A Holy Vigil will take place at 4 p.m. and ven­er­a­tion of the relics will be­gin at 1 p.m. Part of the cel­e­bra­tion at St. Ninian’s will be prayer pe­ti­tion. Holy cards will be given in each parish where the relics will travel, al­low­ing par­ish­ioners to write pray­ers to St. An­thony.

In­for­ma­tion re­leased from the Pon­tif­i­cal Basil­ica of St. An­thony of Padua stated,

"the writ­ing of prayer pe­ti­tion/in­ten­tion is a world­wide tra­di­tion when ven­er­at­ing a relic of a saint. Fa­ther Alessan­dro will bring the pe­ti­tions back to the Pon­tif­i­cal Basil­ica in Padua and place them at the tomb of St. An­thony."

The tour of the relics of­fi­cially ends back at the Tomb of St. An­thony, where fri­ars will gather to pray to the saint, keep­ing in mind the in­ten­tions and pe­ti­tions gath­ered from the tour.

For those who find the con­cept of relics pe­cu­liar, Fran­cis­can Friar Mario Conte, edi­tor of The Mes­sen­ger of St. An­thony wrote, "there is noth­ing su­per­sti­tious about relics. The real mean­ing of a relic is love – they are a link of love be­tween the per­son who ven­er­ates and the saint."

"The saints will give us a mes­sage," Conte wrote. "They tell us: be faith­ful to the Lord, be­cause the Lord does not dis­ap­point."

An­thony of Padua, born in Por­tu­gal, was a friar of the Fran­cis­can Or­der. He is well known for reached saint­hood a year after his death – the short­est time in the his­tory of the church, it took some­one to be­come a saint. He was pro­claimed a Doc­tor of the Church in 1946 for his ex­pert knowl­edge of scrip­ture and preach­ing. His re­mains are stored in the Basil­ica in Padua.

His­tor­i­cal records in­di­cate St. An­thony died and was buried in a small church out­side of Padua on June 13, 1231. In 1262, his re­mains were trans­ferred to the basil­ica – which was newly con­structed.

In re­sponse to re­ported mir­a­cle ac­tiv­ity sur­round­ing the tomb of St. An­thony, the Fran­cis­can Fri­ars opened the saint’s cof­fin. Upon open­ing it, bones and ashes were found, but "the saint’s vo­cal ap­pa­ra­tus was found to be in­tact and his tongue was still red and soft."

Min­is­ter Gen­eral Gio­vanni Di Fi­danza – who would later be­come St. Bon­aven­ture – presided over the open­ing of the cof­fin, and pro­claimed the dis­cov­ery a mir­a­cle.

St. An­thony of Padua is known as fin­der of lost items – this stems from an in­ci­dent in his own life. In­for­ma­tion from the Pon­tif­i­cal Basil­ica of Saint An­thony of Padua states that a young novice de­cided to leave the Fran­cis­can or­der, tak­ing An­thony’s book of psalms, which con­tained notes about teach­ings to his stu­dents.

An­thony, after pray­ing that the book would be found, had the book re­turned to him by the novice who took it – that novice also rein­te­grated into the Fran­cis­can or­der.

The in­for­ma­tion con­cluded, say­ing,

"We in­vite you to come and ask for St. An­thony’s in­ter­ces­sion for more than the loss of ma­te­rial things, but also for loss of faith, fam­ily, har­mony, health, hope, peace of mind and trust in oth­ers."

Want to go?

The two holy relics of St. An­thony of Padua will visit sev­eral lo­ca­tions in Nova Sco­tia through­out the month of Novem­ber, from Ber­wick to Yar­mouth.

The relics will be in Antigo­nish Nov. 10, with ven­er­a­tion tak­ing place from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There will also be a holy vigil mass at 4 p.m.


A young Pope Fran­cis (right), car­ry­ing one of the relics of St. An­thony of Padua.

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