31st Street Celebrates St. Anthony
NEW YORK – With a warm sun in a blue, cloudless sky as the setting, the annual feast of St. Anthony, June 13, drew record crowds of faithful followers to St. Francis Church on 31st Street.
The day started off with an innovation – a blessing of the guests on the breadline. At 7 a.m., Jerome Massimino, joined by several friars, read a short prayer and then walked the length of the line to sprinkle the guests with holy water. Afterwards, each guest was handed a small bag containing a prayer card and medal of St. Anthony, as well as a piece of blessed St. Anthony’s Bread.
The Masses and devotions which are a typical part of the feast day were all well-attended to the point where many of them were standing-room only. In addition to the regular schedule of nine daily Masses, additional Masses were celebrated in Italian, Spanish, French, English and Korean.
Thomas Walters coordinated the distribution of St. Anthony’s Bread under a large tent in the 32nd Street Courtyard. Boxes of bread, stacked up eight feet high, awaited the thousands who passed through. “The folks were hungry,” Tom commented after giving away some 80,000 loaves. Throughout the day, Tom was assisted by dozens of lay volunteers who annually take a day off from work in order to be part of the experience.
The pleasant weather added to the daylong festive atmosphere, as crowds milled about in the prayer garden to light candles, go to confession, or simply to stop for a chat with a friar on 31st Street.
St. Anthony Shrine Street Fair A Great Success
By Frances Jarvis
BOSTON – St. Anthony Shrine held its third Street Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 13, the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. With the day being bright, sunny, and warm, many people flocked to the closed off Arch Street during their lunch hours to see what was going on. Several people, many in suits and ties, participated in one or two of the games that were set up. Others visited the information tables of the many ministries to talk with the directors and their staff or to simply take the information with them. Some chatted with their friends, while waiting in a very long line for a Dunkin Donuts Smoothie.
Several raffles were held with the prizes being gift certificates to fine Boston restaurants. And one lucky individual from Pennsylvania won the 50/50 raffle drawn at the end of the Fair. Mayor Thomas Menino made an appearance at the Fair and drew one of the winners of a gift certificate.
The music ministry provided very lively entertainment throughout, playing a wide variety of musical genres. More than one visitor could be seen tapping his or her toes to the beat.
Local sponsor, Sebastian’s, provided the food, rather large sized hotdogs that were wildly popular as the afternoon progressed. Three thousand hotdogs were distributed during the day, as was bottled water. Over 1,200 Smoothies were also distributed to the crowd.
Inside the Shrine, in keeping with the day, St. Anthony bread was distributed to people going to or coming from Masses. Many of those folks stuck around for the street fair. Feast days at the shrine are busy days, and many people came through our doors on this day. The bread itself ran out after the 4:30 p.m. Mass.
The staff and friars at St. Anthony Shrine worked very hard to ensure that the street fair, and the feast day itself, would be a success. Many hours were spent planning, organizing and pulling together the people needed to help make the 2006 Summer Street Fair go well. Thanks again to the hard work of dedicated staff, friars, and volunteers, another street fair can be said to have been worth the work.