Happy Feast of St. Anthony!
In the Parish Bulletin, this week…
Voices from yesterday and today…
by Peachy Maramba
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA:
HEALER AND RESTORER OF SOULS
A Caring Compassionate Saint
Have you ever wondered why so many people pray to Saint Anthony? It is said that even non-Catholics pray to him, which helps to explain the fact that — next to St. Therese of Lisieux — he is considered the most popular saint in the world. One reason for St. Anthony’s immense popularity was his unconditional love and kindness. People loved him because he was gentle, kind, and compassionate.
He is prayed to — not for being an exceptionally brilliant and experienced teacher nor for being a herald of truth nor for being one of the most learned clerics of 13″‘ century Europe but — because he was a very caring priest who listened to all petitions no matter how small, trivial or ordinary it was. Thus, he has been given the title, “The Saint of Small Things.” He teaches us that God does not just care about major catastrophes and big problems, He cares even about the tiniest parts of our lives.
Always Willing to Help
People ask St. Anthony for help all the time and for the most ordinary things because like a good friend, he is always willing to help. People especially like to ask St. Anthony to help them find things that are lost which is why he is known as the Patron of the Lost.
Not only does St. Anthony have the power to recover lost articles, even spiritually lost souls and lost loves can be returned by his most powerful intercession.
Patron of the Poor
Anthony was born of a knight in King Alphonso’s court and came from a wealthy and noble family; one would expect him to want for the comforts and luxuries of his early lifestyle. Instead, because of his love for Jesus, he chose to abandon his inheritance and live a life of poverty. He then became a Franciscan.
Because the poor have always had a special place in Anthony’s life, he has been called the “Patron of the Poor.” Even to this day, if a wish or prayer had been answered through his intercession, one is expected to make a donation to St. Anthony’s Bread, an existing charity that is devoted to feeding the hungry.
A Saint to be Imitated
Even if about 800 years have passed since the death of St. Anthony, devotion to this great Franciscan saint still seems to be increasing day by day all over the world. The reason for this lies in the secret advantage that St. Anthony had — for he was filled with the Holy Spirit — as well as with His gifts.
Someone even dubbed him a “pen of the Holy Spirit” as he knew the Bible not only by study but by the light of the Holy Spirit. Thus, he allowed the Holy Spirit to put the appropriate words in his pen or mouth for the occasion.
He first practiced humility which is the foundation of all virtues. Although he was the object of admiration to all, he did not strive after higher offices and dignities, but was content with the humbler walk of life and solitude. “The way of wisdom is the way of humility. Every other way is the way of ignorance because it is the path of pride.”
Becomes “Evangelist” and “Hammer of Heretics”
Anthony fervently believed that “if the Gospel were preached purely and followed faithfully, social and political problems could be anticipated or lessened”.
The greatest menace of the Church at that time were the heretics especially the Cathars in Italy and the Albigensians in France who rejected the Sacraments and Church authorities. Their souls became the special object of Anthony’s preaching.
Besides preaching against the prevalent heresies, Anthony attacked with great zeal and success the obstinate vices of luxury, pride, tyranny, hatred, and avarice. Major topics of his speeches were debt relief and the plight of the poor in the face of increasing wealth. No one escaped his attacks against wrongdoing. It is no wonder that his visits had the impact of a spiritual renewal that attracted crowds of as much as more than thirty thousand.
Although he came from rich and powerful family and was a devout churchman, his whole life, his sermons “attacked the tyranny of the powerful and he was unsparing when it came to the failings of the clergy.” In one sermon Anthony said, “Speech is alive when works also speak. Let words cease, I beg of you, and let works speak.”
Anthony is regarded as one of the most magnetic and powerful preachers of all time. He was so great that the fish in the sea would listen to him.
He also repaired fractured souls as he won over innumerable souls for Christ. Everywhere he went, sinners flocked to him to confess their sins. They returned to the Sacraments and gave up their vices. Feuding enemies were reconciled, and criminals reformed. It is no wonder that he was called a “Wonder Worker”.
But he was not an “easy” preacher. He demanded a lot from his audience. He required them to return back (what they had taken through usury or violence) even if they had to mortgage their homes and fields. He asked freedom for those who were imprisoned unfairly, and he asked for brotherly peace from those who were fighting each other. He freed prostitutes from their sinful and disgraceful activities. For their beloved Anthony they readily complied.
His Death and Sainthood
Though Anthony did not die literally a martyr’s death as he wanted, he did die a “Martyr of the Word, a Martyr of the Road, and a Martyr of the Crowds.” He died at the young age of 36 on June 13, 1231. Shortly before he died, he called out, “I see my Lord!”
Due to the many miracles that followed his death, Anthony was consecrated within a year of his death, which is the second quickest canonization in history. This is living proof of how greatly beloved and respected he was in his lifetime and up to the present time.
On June 13 when St. Anthony’s feast is celebrated, the Church prays: “Almighty, ever-living God, You gave Your people the extraordinary preacher St. Anthony and made him an intercessor in difficulties. By his aid, grant that we may live a truly Christian life and experience Your help in all adversities.”
An Interview with St. Anthony Devotee
and Parish Fiesta 2021 Chair, Vicky Chan
This week, let us shine the spotlight on Vicky Chan, whom we are honored to have as this year’s Parish Fiesta Chair. Vicky’s nieces, Caren and Pebbles, who are part of the Parish Fiesta’s Planning Committee, fondly describe their Tita Vicky as big-hearted, charitable, and generous. They also describe her as someone who is adventurous, fun-loving, and is game to try and explore new things! Let us get to know Vicky better as she tells us more about herself and the ongoing Parish Fiesta 2021.
What are the three things that you treasure the most?
I treasure my family — they are very important to me. As I am not married, my whole family which includes my brothers and sisters, my nieces and nephews, and my grandnieces and grandnephews. We are a very close, tight-knit family. Before the pandemic, we would always have family get-togethers at our house which was the central gathering place for our family. We would also often travel together.
I treasure the virtue of charity. Being charitable and kind is an essential part of who I am. I am always ready to help others especially those who are most in need.
Last but certainly not the least, I treasure my faith and my church community. I have been part of the SSAP community since the eighties. I was one of the early members of COSA (Circle of Saint Anthony) which was a group of young professionals. We would do outreach programs and other charitable projects.
What are the most important lessons you have learned in the past year?
During the past year, I have not really gone out, I have been staying safely at home. And I discovered that it is okay for me to just be at home. I am happy to be in the company of the people who are with me — my sister, and our other companions. I have been staying in touch with the rest of my family and my friends. Truly, God, family, and friends are what matter the most especially during these times. Read the full interview>>>>>
Read more heartwarming stories from
this week’s issue of the Parish Bulletin.
VENERATION OF RELICS
Daily veneration at the Main Church and online will be until Thursday, July 1, 2021. This can be viewed daily after the 7:30am Mass (Monday-Saturday) and 8:00am Mass (Sunday) via the SSAP Facebook page and Youtube channel. Click on link to access the Life of Saint and Prayers: https://online.fliphtml5.com/jasdj/popt/
SSAP’s Continuing Catholic Development (CCD)
is now open for enrollment for
SY August 2021 – May 2022.