Veneration of the relic of St. Anthony of Padua in Springfield, MA!
By Natalie Salameh
On Saturday, September 6, 2014, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light witnessed the arrival and veneration of a relic of St. Anthony of Padua at our Maronite Parish of St. Anthony in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Prior to our journey to Springfield, the nature of the relic was unknown to us, although many people know that the famous relic of St. Anthony of Padua is in fact his incorrupt tongue. St. Anthony of Padua was a great preacher in his time (13th Century). We later learned that day, as we ourselves approached to venerate the relic, that the relic was in fact two pieces of the saint’s incorrupt cartilage of his larynx, which controlled the vibration of his vocal chords. These are the parts of the body used in speech and was discovered in recent times in 1981.
The relic of the great saint had come all the way from its native shrine in Padua, Italy from the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, and was welcomed in the parish by a great number of pilgrims. We, and many other pilgrims, accompanied the relic in procession from the middle of Island Pond Road to the altar of the Church. In the procession, the relic was held in the stole of His Excellency, Bishop Gregory Mansour, accompanied by His Excellency, Mitchell T. Rozanski, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, and Fr. George Zina, Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Church.
After the relic had arrived in the Church, Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Gregory Mansour, followed by the Litany of St. Anthony. During the day’s prayers and devotions, we carried your petitions to the feet of St. Anthony of Padua. The relic will remain in the Church at Springfield for 9 consecutive days from September 6th through the 14th, before returning to its resting place and shrine in Italy. During these nine days the Maronites of Springfield, who dedicated their church and parish to St. Anthony, will conduct a very special novena in thanksgiving to him for two separate miracles that represent over a hundred years of his patronage and protection.
All are welcome to join the parish in their novena to St. Anthony of Padua, which is available on the EWTN website.
St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!