The Feast of St. Anthony

06-13-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John C. Granato

My Dear Friends,

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan who was renowned for his poverty as well as his learning and his preaching. He is one of the declared Doctors of the Church due to his extensive writings. Many know of St. Anthony through his being the patron of finding lost objects. He is also known for the almsgiving that is called St. Anthony’s Bread.

The website for the Shrine of St. Anthony says, “St. Anthony’s Bread is a term used for offerings made in thanksgiving to God for blessings received through the prayers of St. Anthony. Sometimes the alms are given for the education of priests. In some places parents also make a gift for the poor after placing a newborn child under the protection of St. Anthony. It is a practice in some churches to bless small loaves of bread on the feast of St. Anthony and give them to those who want them. Different legends or stories account for the donation of what is called St. Anthony’s Bread. By at least one account it goes back to 1263, when it is said a child drowned near the Basilica of St. Anthony which was still being built. His mother promised that if the child was restored to her she would give for the poor an amount of corn equal to the child’s weight. Her prayer and promise were rewarded with the boy’s return to life.”

St. Anthony was known as a miracle worker because of this and other legends. One such legend is that he preached to fish since the people in town refused to listen to him. I can relate to that. There are many times I feel like preaching to Barley, my little Yorkie. In any event, St. Anthony is a popular and powerful saint for us to turn to in time of need.

O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.