Mangaluru, Feb 07, 2019: Nine days Novena in preparation for the feast of Relic of Saint Anthony began with the hoisting of St Anthony’s flag at Milagres Church.
Prior to that, the decorated Statue of St Anthony was taken in procession from the Ashram at Jeppu to Milagres Church via Kankanady and Falnir. Devotees joined in the procession in honour of the popular saint. Fr Anish, the Parish Priest of St Antony’s Jacobite Cathedral Jeppu flagged off the procession.
Fr Paul Melwyn D’Souza ofm cap, Superior of St Anne Friary Bejai hoisted St Anthony’s flag and offered the Holy Mass for the intention of Religious who are working for the Kingdom of God in various parts of the World. In his homily Fr Paul Melwyn said that the Religious are the co-workers of Jesus Christ who have dedicated themselves for His cause. Fr Onil D’Souza the director of the Shrine led the first days of novena prayers; Clergy, religious and a large congregation of devotees graced the occasion.
Backdrop Information : This is the second, most important feast celebrating St Anthony after the June 13 feast, and marks the discovery of his uncorrupt tongue over 750 years ago, more than 30 years after his death. This scientifically inexplicable phenomenon is what faith calls a miracle, seeing that the relic of the tongue, the instruments used by St Anthony for preaching, is still visible and uncorrupt after many centuries. The relic may be venerated in the Chapel of the Treasury in the Basilica, which is visited each year by millions of pilgrims.
It was 8 April 1263 when the Superior General of the Franciscans, Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, while inspecting the Saint’s mortal remains before their translation in the new funerary chapel, found, to the amazement of all those present, the tongue of our beloved Anthony, Doctor of the Church, perfectly preserved.
Anthony was born into a wealthy family in 1195. He joined the Augustiniancanons in 1210 and took training for the priesthood. In 1220 he joined the Franciscan order, hoping to preach to the Saracens (Muslims) and be martyred. On his way to Morocco, he became seriously ill and was forced to return home.
However, his ship back to Portugal was blown off course and eventually landed in Sicily. Because of his continuing poor health, he was not allowed to pursue his missionary work among the Saracens. Instead, he taught theology at Bologna, Italy, and at Montpellier, Toulouse, and Puy-en-Velay in southern France, winning great admiration as a preacher. He died en route to Padua, Italy, where he is buried.