St. Anthony of Padua relics to visit Pittsburgh

Friday, May 24, 2019 - Updated: 1:13 pm

Pittsburgh Catholic Staff Report

Two first-class relics of St. Anthony of Padua will tour the Diocese of Pittsburgh June 6-11. 

At the invitation of Bishop David Zubik, Father Alessandro Ratti will accompany the relics from the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua in Padua, Italy. They are contained in two reliquaries — one containing layers of skin from the saint’s cheek and the other containing a fragment of his floating rib. Both have been venerated by St. Teresa of Kolkata, St. John Paul II and Servant of God Sister Lucia of Fatima.

Bishop Zubik will officiate at a noon Mass Friday, June 7, at St. Anthony Chapel in Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill neighborhood.

The complete schedule of churches follows:

June 6 — Word of God, 7446 McClure Ave., Swissvale. Mass at 9:30 a.m., veneration until noon; Madonna del Castello, 2021 S. Braddock Ave., Swissvale. Veneration begins at 4 p.m., with Mass at 7 p.m.

June 7 — St. Anthony Chapel, 1704 Harpster St. Mass at 8:30 a.m., then veneration until noon when Bishop Zubik will celebrate the liturgy; St. John the Baptist, 1409 Pennsylvania Ave., Monaca. Veneration begins at 5 p.m., with Mass at 7 p.m. 

June 8 — St. Alphonsus, 201 Church Road, Wexford. Veneration from 9-11 a.m.; St. Alexis, 10090 Old Perry Highway, Wexford. Veneration begins at 1 p.m., with anticipated Mass at 4 p.m.

June 9 — St. James, 200 Walnut St., Sewickley. Masses at 8 and 11 a.m., with veneration between them; Sacred Heart, 310 Shady Ave., Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood. Veneration begins at 5 p.m., with Mass at 7:45 p.m.

June 10 — St. Therese of Lisieux, 1 St. Therese Court, Munhall. Mass at 8:15 a.m., followed by veneration; St. Bernard, 311 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon. Veneration begins at 3 p.m., with Mass at 7 p.m.

June 11 — St. Louise de Marillac, 320 McMurray Road, Upper St. Clair. Veneration begins at 6 p.m., with Mass at 7:30 p.m.

Prayer petitions with holy cards will be distributed at each church to allow parishioners to write prayer requests to the saint. Veneration will include the touching of the reliquaries with the prayer petition and religious objects, such as rosary beads, holy cards and Bibles. The writing of a prayer petition is a worldwide tradition when venerating the relic of a saint.

Father Ratti will take the petitions back to the pontifical basilica in Padua and place them at the tomb of St. Anthony. The priest is a member of the Conventual Franciscan friars who minister at the basilica. He will join the other members of his order in praying for the saint’s intercession upon the petitions.

A 24-hour webcam of the tomb can be found at http://www.sanantonio.org/en/basilica.

St. Anthony of Padua was a Portuguese friar of the Franciscan order. He died in 1231 and was canonized within a year after his death, the shortest period in the history of the church. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

St. Anthony was buried Tuesday, June 17, 1231. It is the reason that St. Anthony novenas are always recited on a Tuesday. 

In 1263, his remains were transferred to the present site. In light of miracles reported around the saint’s original tomb, Friar Giovanni Di Fidanza, minister general of the Franciscan Friars Minor (who would become St. Bonaventure), made the decision to open the coffin. When it was opened, bones and ashes were found. The saint’s vocal apparatus, however, was found to be intact, and his tongue was still red and soft.

At the sight of the miracle, St. Bonaventure exclaimed, “Oh blessed tongue, that ever praised the Lord, and led others to praise him. Now it is clear how great are your merits before God.”

St. Anthony of Padua is known to millions of Catholics as a finder of lost things. More information can be found at www.saintanthonyofpadua.net.

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