The Relics of St. Anthony of Padua in Knock on June 11th, 2016
Pictured is Fr. Richard Gibbons, Rector of Knock Shrine welcoming Fr. Mario and the relics, and Fr. Valentino and Fr. Lucian holding relics. Pictures by kind courtesy of Maria Hunt, Knock.
Words of INTRODUCTION of Archbishop Michael FOR THE VISIT OF THE RELICS OF ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA TO KNOCK, 11th JUNE, 2016.
St. Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon in 1195. A man of great yearning, eloquence, great power of persuasion along with a burning zeal for souls. He is said to have had an attractive, almost magnetic personality and radiated holiness. Wherever he went crowds flocked to hear him – hardened criminals and heretics alike were converted by him. On the 13th June 1231 he died at the age of 36 and was canonised within a year of his death and declared a Doctorate of the Church in 1946.
He is the Patron Saint of finding things or lost people.
The reason that St. Anthony’s help is invoked for things lost or stolen is traced to an incident that occurred in Bologna. According to the story, Anthony had a book of Psalms which was of great importance to him as it contained notes and comments he had made to use in teaching his students. A Novice who had decided to leave took his book with him. Prior to the invention of the Printing Press any book was an item of value. Upon noticing it was missing, Anthony prayed it would be found or returned. The book was restored to Anthony and was returned to the Order.
In popular devotion St. Anthony is venerated as the Apostle of Charity, invoked in both spiritual and temporal needs, (Patron of lovers, of marriage, of miners). The blessing of St. Anthony has become popular in all the above instances.
Today, we are blessed and privileged to welcome the Relics of St. Anthony here to Our Lady’s Shrine at Knock. St. Anthony and Our Lady had much in common. Today we invoke their help as we endeavour to follow in their footsteps.
St. Anthony is regarded as a companion in daily life, a kind of big brother and is always present and available when people find themselves beleaguered in different ways. People pray to St. Anthony for those who have lost their way in life, asking him to console the suffering and assist the poor. Today we welcome Fr. Mario Conte who accompanies the relics of St. Anthony. Fr. Conte has travelled the world with the Relics of his favourite Saint. Fr. Conte as expressed the hope that the visit of the Relics of St. Anthony to Ireland will help people to rediscover their faith. In his preaching St. Anthony always had this goal in mind, namely to bring people to God.
As we gather this afternoon we venerate a great Saint. His intercession has been invoked by millions of men and women over the centuries in every corner of the world. We bring the intentions which are in our hearts and in the hearts of those who have asked us to pray for them. The Franciscan Church has a small relic of St. Anthony. Today we are privileged here at the National Shrine of Our Lady to venerate his Relic and we thank Fr. Conte the Franciscans for accompanying the visit of his relics on this occasion.