Saturday, June 13, 2009

Feast of St. Anthony

The Devotions of the Nine Tuesdays
in Honor of St. Anthony
On the Tuesday following the death of St Anthony the people of Padua carried his body to its last resting place in the Church of Our Blessed Lady, which was attached to the Franciscan Friary at Padua. The occasion was marked by great splendour and enthusiasm, and the cortege moved through the city to the music of bells and joyous hymns. The day was marked, too, by an extraordinary number of miracles. The biographers of the Saint tell us that “the blind regained their sight, the deaf their hearing, and the lame the use of their limbs. Every grace and favour asked for in faith and confidence was granted.” The people were so impressed by the wonderful things they had witnessed that they began to observe Tuesdays as days of special devotion in honour of their saint. However, as time went on, the practice fell into disuse until, in 1616, St Anthony himself revived it in the form of a novena of nine consecutive Tuesdays.

In that year – 1616 – “there lived at Bologna a noble and pious couple who, after twenty two years of married life, were childless. One day the lonely wife, kneeling before the altar of St Anthony in the Franciscan church, laid before the saint the sorrow of her life and begged his intercession. And see! The saint himself appeared before her and bade her visit his altar and pray before it on nine consecutive Tuesdays. This she did and in course of time became a mother. But to the bitter disappointment of the parents, the infant was found to be horribly deformed. This new sorrow, however, proved to be but a further trial of their faith. The mother brought the babe to the altar of the saint, and on touching it to the stone, all traces of the deformity immediately disappeared. “Franciscan Almanac”

The grateful parents spread everywhere the news of the miracle and very soon the Devotion of the Nine Tuesdays became very popular throughout Europe. Today it is practiced universally throughout the world. It has always proved to be a marvelously efficacious means of winning St Anthony’s assistance.

The following plan is suggested for making the Novena:

(i) Receive, if possible, the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist on nine consecutive Tuesdays. This may be done in any church.
(ii) On each of the Tuesdays visit a church, Franciscan if possible, and before a statue or relic of St Anthony, recite appropriate prayers. If the church cannot be visited, the prayers may be said at home before an image of the saint.
(iii) To gain a plenary indulgence on each Tuesday of the Novena, receive the Sacraments, visit a Franciscan church during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and there pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. (This indulgence can be gained on each Tuesday of the year on these same conditions.)

No particular prayers are prescribed for the Novena, but the following are commonly used.

Prayers for the Devotion of the Nine Tuesdays

O Jesus my Saviour! Who vouchsafed to appear to St Anthony in the form of an infant, I implore you, through the love you bore to this saint when he dwelt on earth and which you now bear to him in heaven, graciously hear my prayer and assist me in my necessities, who live and reign, world without end. Amen.

O glorious St Anthony, safe refuge of all the afflicted and distressed, who have revealed that all who piously invoke you at your altar on nine consecutive Tuesdays shall experience the power of your intercession. Encouraged by your promise, and by the knowledge of the wonderful favours and graces which God bestows on those who piously invoke your intercession, I come to you, O powerful Saint, and with a firm hope I implore your aid, your protection, your counsel, and your blessing. Obtain for me, I beseech you my request. (Pause here and make your request). But if it should be opposed to the Will of God and the welfare of my soul, obtain for me such other graces as shall be conducive to my salvation. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Then say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, followed by the Responsory.
** From the Via Rosa rosaries site, where you can also purchase a St. Anthony chaplet!
Other, simple prayers to St. Anthony
(The children like these)

Dear St. Anthony, please come round; Something's lost and must be found!

Dear St. Anthony, thou art the patron of the poor and the helper of all who seek lost articles. Help me to find the object I have lost so that I will be able to make better use of the time that I will gain for God's greater honor and glory. Grant thy gracious aid to all people who seek what they have lost, especially those who seek to regain God's grace. Amen.

** To read about the life of St. Anthony, go here; to find some recipes for his feastday, go here; to learn just about everything you might want to know about our miracle worker, including a list of his maxims, go here.

**To find a beautiful, printable poster of St. Anthony, depicting many of the key events of his life, go here.

~ St Anthony, our dear friend in heaven, please intercede for us! ~

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