St Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church, Memorial
‘The Lord is the source of all wisdom: come, let us adore him.’ (Invitatory antiphon).
Recently, two people were standing at St Anthony’s shrine lighting candles in the local parish Church. The woman said to the man pointing to St Anthony, ‘Is he your favourite saint?’ Immediately, the man burst into tears and said he had ‘lost his son to death’ in the pandemic a few weeks ago and the family are in such shock they can hardly talk about him. He then said, ‘St Anthony knows all about the pain of loss and so do we’. Immediately, those standing around, at a social distance were caught in the conversation.
A statue of St Anthony usually includes him holding the Child Jesus, a book and lilies. Lilies are used in Christian art as a symbol of purity. With St Anthony lilies have a special significance. His feast day is celebrated annually on 13 June and lilies are in bloom at this time. There are legends attached to the association of lilies with St Anthony.
It is a common tradition for lilies to be blessed in honour of the St Anthony. Many favours have been granted to people who have devotion to St Anthony. The significance of the book is that when St Anthony was reading a book one day, the Child Jesus appeared to him and sat on his arm and spoke lovingly to him.
St Anthony brings consolation to people as he intercedes in prayer for those who believe. If the local parish Church is open, people are invited to say a prayer and light a candle. One might look out for a shrine to St Anthony. There might be a prayer at the shrine to read. Some parishes hold a Novena to St Anthony.
Today’s readings from the (1 Kings 19:9, 19-21) and the Gospel (Mt 5:33-37) are proclaimed at Mass via the webcam or read from the Old and New Testament.
In the first reading, the call of Elisha, God’s people hear how Elijah went to Elisha who was ploughing in the field. Elijah threw his cloak over him, thus securing authority over him. Elisha accepts and responds to the call by destroying the plough, killing the oxen and sharing the food. He renounced his old ways and followed Elijah.
In the Gospel Jesus continues his teaching on love with an emphasis on upholding the dignity of the human person. God asks for integrity and authenticity in all of our relationships. God knows our failures, our sin and our weaknesses. He continually calls his disciples to unconditional, everlasting and abiding love. He calls disciples to repentance and justice. God is faithful, true and trustworthy.
From the readings, God’s people are invited to turn towards God and follow the way of love, the way of Jesus.
SEEK GOD’S LOVE IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The children are introduced to St Anthony of Padua in the context of the Parable of the Lost Coin (Lk 15:8-10). This parable explores the gallant efforts the woman makes to find the coin she lost and then she celebrates when she finds it.
From the exploration of this Parable the children recognise that God is always seeking out those who are lost. When the person who is lost returns to God he/she is welcomed with love and joy. God desires that every person would repent and turn towards God who seeks their love.
It is hoped that children when they explore the theme of losing something or being lost that they will grow in awareness of God’s unconditional love for them. They are free to respond to God’s love. They are reassured of God’s love in every circumstance of their lives even in their darkest moments.
The children listen to the story about St Anthony (1195-1231) and his life. He was born in Lisbon, Portugal. St Anthony heard God’s call and he responded in love. St Anthony joined the Franciscan Order, who has St Francis as patron saint.
On being elected Pope, Pope Francis chose St Francis as his patron saint. In his Encyclical letter Pope Francis writes, ‘ I do not want to write this Encyclical, without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome.’ (Laudato Si, no. 10).
People pray to St Anthony when they lose something. Children recognise why they do this as they read the story of ‘St Anthony’s Lost Book’ in Fourth Class/P6.
Later on, the theme of being lost and found is explored in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Children read the parables about forgiveness and they are taught the prayers of forgiveness and the Confiteor and the Act of Sorrow. Families are invited to take their children to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Children might like to light a virtual candle from the Veritas website and offer a prayer to St Anthony.
Resources on the VERITAS website are available to support the Scripture passages on being lost and found and on reconciliation.
READ from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
‘Jesus and Zacchaeus’ (Lk 19:1-10), Jesus heals a man who is paralysed’ (Mt 9:1-8, Mk 2:1-12), ‘The Parable of the Lost Sheep’ (Lk 15:1-7), ‘The Parable of the Lost Coin’ (Lk 15:8-10), ‘The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant’.
SING from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé:
‘Song of Repentance’, ‘Our Father’, ‘Parable Song-Parable of the Lost Coin’.
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
ACT OF SORROW
O my God, I thank you for loving me.
I am sorry for all my sins, for not loving
others and not loving you.
Help me to live like Jesus and not sin again. Amen.
A Dhia, gabhaim buíochas leat as ucht do ghrá dom.
Ta brón orm faoi mo pheacaí uile:
Nach raibh grá agam duitse ná do dhaoine eile.
Cabhraigh liom mo shaol a chaitheamh
ar nós Íosa agus gan peaca a dhéanamh arís.
PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS
O my God, help me to remember the times when I didn’t live
as Jesus asked me to.
Help me to be sorry and try again. Amen.
PAIDIR AG IARRAIDH MAITHIÚNAIS
A Dhia, ár nAthair, cabhraigh liom
cuimhneamh ar na huaireanta
nár mhair mé mar a d’iarr Íosa orm.
Cabhraigh liom brón a bheith orm
agus iarracht eile a dhéanamh. Áiméan.
PRAYER AFTER FORGIVENESS
O my God, thank you for forgiving me.
Help me to love others.
Help me to live as Jesus asked me to.
PAIDIR TARÉIS MAITHIÚNAIS
A Dhia, ár nAthair, go raibh maith agat
faoi mhaithiúnas a thabhairt dom.
Cabhraigh liom grá a thabhairt
do dhaoine eile.
Cabhraigh liom maireachtáil mar a
d’iarr Íosa orm.
‘The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue will shine like stars for all eternity.’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘O holy doctor, St Anthony of Padua, light of the Church, lover of the law of God, pray for us to the Son of God.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, hold my lot secure.’ (Psalm15:1).
‘Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.’ (Laudato Si’, no. 12).
St Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’
Sr Anne Neylon