Faith Matters

Visit of St Anthony's relics to Derry and Armagh

The relics of St Anthony during a previous visit to the north. Picture by Hugh Russell

The relics of St Anthony - the saint of lost things - are now in Ireland and will be brought to Catholic churches north and south and Knock shrine.

An outpouring of devotion is expected from thousands of devotees.

The last time the relics of St Anthony visited Ireland, there were traffic jams in cities and towns as devotees flocked to honour their much loved Saint - the thirteenth century friar who was one of the earliest members of the Franciscan Order founded by St Francis in 1209.

St Anthony will be visiting in the form of two relics, one of which is the relic Pope Francis venerated 16 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.

The relics begin their visit to Ireland in St Mary's in Cahir, Co Tipperary and will be taken to Killarney, Knock, Sligo, Dublin and Longford before coming north next week.

Fr Mario Conte, editor of the Messenger of St Anthony, will accompany the relics. Messenger of St Anthony is the magazine published by the Conventual Franciscan Friars of St Anthony's Basilica in Padua, Italy, where the Saint's tomb is located.

The relics arrive in Derry on June 15 before travelling to Armagh the following day where a special Mass will be celebrated at St Patrick's Cathedral by Archbishop Eamon Martin.

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Northern dates for relics of St Anthony of Padua

St Eugene's, Derry - Wednesday June 15 to Thursday June 16.

Wednesday: 12 noon: Ceremony of Welcome. Veneration of Relics until 7.15pm. 7.30pm Mass. Veneration of Relics until 10.00pm.

Thursday: 8.00 am Mass. Veneration of Relics after Mass. 10.00 am Mass followed by Ceremony of Farewell.

St Patrick's, Armagh - Thursday June 16 to Friday June 17.

Thursday: 4pm - Relics welcomed to St Patrick's Cathedral. 5.30pm Evening Prayer. 7.30pm Mass. 10pm Night Prayer

Friday: 8am Mass, 10am Mass, 12 noon Rosary, 1pm Relics depart

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