The relics of St Anthony of Padua will visit St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th June 2016. The relics will be welcomed at the Cathedral at 4pm on the Thursday afternoon and a special Mass will be celebrated on that evening by Archbishop Eamon Martin at 7.30pm.
The last time the relics of St Anthony visited Ireland, there were traffic jams in cities and towns across the country as devotees flocked to honour their much loved Saint - the 13th century friar who was one of the earliest members of the Franciscan Order founded by St Francis in 1209. It’s expected that large numbers of people will visit St Patrick’s Cathedral during the two days to express their devotion to the Saint. St Anthony will be visiting in the form of two relics, one of which is the relic Pope Francis venerated sixteen years ago in Argentina as Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. The future Pope led a procession through the streets of the Argentinian capital in 2000, carrying in his hands a reliquary containing a piece of St Anthony’s floating rib.
Pope Francis’ devotion to St Anthony is due to the Saint’s love, care and concern for the poor and marginalised. Known for helping people find lost items, St Anthony intercedes with those trying to find a job, a home, faith, love, hope and mercy. "Relics are part of the body of a saint who was the Temple of the Holy Spirit" (Pope Francis) he relics will remain exposed during the Masses that will be celebrated on the two days. At the conclusion of each Mass, those attending will be invited to approach the relics and receive a special blessing. Full details are on the enclosed document.
Bless us this day, O Lord, guide us back to community and communion
with you and all mankind through remembrance that we are all made in your image
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