The holy relic of Saint Anthony of Padua will visit Roselle Park on June 10th during the Feast of St. Anthony. This will be the first stop of the relic’s American tour which will end in Westchester County, New York on June 19th. It will also stop in Manhattan as well as Stamford, Connecticut.
The relic, that traveled from its Basilica in Italy, will be at the Church of the Assumption. Father James Spera will celebrate two masses at noon and 7 o’clock in the evening with veneration of the holy relic all day long starting at 11 in the morning.
The Franciscan way to venerate the holy relic is to make physical contact with the reliquary with a religious item such as rosary beads, medals, crosses, a prayer card and even a photo of someone dear to you. Father Paolo Floretta, a Franciscan OFM Conv Friar, one of fifty-two Friars who lives in the Basilica in Padua, will accompany the relic from the Pontifical Basilica to America in honor of the Saint’s June 13 Feast Day.
Saint Anthony of Padua died on June 13, 1231. According to the Gregorian calendar, June 13, 1231 was a Friday. Saint Anthony was buried the following Tuesday, June 17, 1231, at Santa Maria Mater Domini. His tomb was later transferred to the present day Basilica when it was completed during that century. It is for this reason why the nine (9) day and thirteen (13) day Saint Anthony novenas, known throughout the Catholic World, are always recited on a Tuesday, the day he was buried.
Saint Anthony of Padua is known to millions of Catholics for ‘lost items’. Friar Alessandro Ratti, a travel companion of the saint’s relics, offered this explanation. “Saint Anthony’s reputation as a finder of lost things dates to an incident in the saint’s life. As the legend goes, a novice who had grown tired of religious life decided to leave the Franciscan community. But before leaving, the novice took Saint Anthony’s psalter. The book was very important to Anthony, especially since it was before the printing press had been invented. The psalter had notes and comments he made in teaching his students in the Franciscan order. Anthony prayed that the psalter would be found and returned to him. Anthony’s prayers were answered: The novice returned the psalter and returned to the order.”
Saint Anthony became “Santo Subito” during the 11th month after his death when Pope Gregory IX canonized him as Saint Anthony of Padua. Some saints are canonized a hundred years after their death and even centuries. No other saint has ever been canonized in such a short period of time after death. Saint Anthony, a Doctor of the Church, is believed by millions of devotees to be a powerful intercessor among the communion of saints.
Pope Francis, inspired by two Franciscan Saints, Saint Francis and Saint Anthony, both of whom knew each other during their lifetime in the 13th century, said of relics, “Relics are parts of the body of a saint which was the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Through this body, the saints practiced heroic values recognized by the Church.”
In 2000, when Pope Francis was Bishop Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, the reliquary traveled to the historic city where he carried the reliquary into the streets of the Argentinian capital.
Friday, June 10, the Church of the Assumption will welcome the reliquary of Saint Anthony of Padua. Prayer petitions will be distributed by Fr. Paolo to allow parishioners to write their prayer petition to the saint. Father Paolo will bring the petitions back to the Basilica in Padua and place the petitions at the tomb of Saint Anthony. The tour officially ends back at the tomb where the Friars will light candles and offer prayers for our intentions.
Anyone requesting more information or a complete schedule can contact the USA representative, Tom Muscatello, at (914) 263-8841 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Church of the Assumption is located at the corner of West Westfield Avenue at Chiego Place.