Ministries Plan Celebrations for Feast of St. Anthony

Maria Hayes Around the Province

Provincial ministries will celebrate the feast of St. Anthony, the wonderworker of Padua, this Friday, June 13.

At St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, bread will be distributed to all from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as “a reminder of our common obligation to care for the poor,” according to the ministry’s website. People are invited to take bread for themselves, for a family member or for a co-worker, and to remember the needs of the poor.

The custom of distributing bread goes back to the mid-13th century, when a child nearly drowned near the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, still under construction. The child’s mother prayed to St. Anthony, promising that if her child’s life was saved, she would give to the poor an amount of wheat equal to the weight of her child. Her son was saved and her promise was kept. St. Anthony’s Bread, then, is a promise of giving alms in return for a favor asked of God through the saint’s intercession. More information about this tradition can be found in the summer 2008 issue of The Anthonian.

After the Shrine’s 5:15 p.m. Mass on June 13, a Feast Day Festival of Italian Songs will be performed at the Shrine on Arch Street. The concert is free and light refreshments will be offered.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City will host relics of St. Anthony, being sent from Padua, Italy, for the saint’s feast day. The relics will be available for veneration in the lower church on West 31st Street throughout the day. St. Francis Parish will also distribute bread from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will offer Masses and devotions in honor of the saint throughout the day.

St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, N.J., will host a plethora of fun activities on Saturday, June 14. The 2 p.m. Mass will be followed by a fiesta lasting from 3 to 9 p.m. Admission will cost $1 for children and $2 for adults. There will be food, games, music and a lot of fun, according to a ministry flyer. The fiesta will also include a farewell celebration for Jud Weiksnar, OFM, who will receive a new assignment after the conclusion of the Congressus next week.

In Paterson, N.J., St. Bonaventure Parish is offering an 11:30 a.m. Mass and a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving at 7 p.m. on June 13 in honor of St. Anthony. Each will be followed by the blessing and distribution of St. Anthony Bread and the Blessed Lilies.

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.