Pope Francis asked that the world's Franciscans and devotees of St. Anthony of Padua be inspired by this 13th-century saint by being "restless" to hit the road and share God's love through word and deed. "May his example of sharing in the difficulties of families, the poor and disadvantaged, as well as his passion for truth and justice, still arouse in us today a generous commitment to give of ourselves as a sign of fraternity," the pope said in a written message. "I am thinking most of all about the young: This saint, so ancient and yet so modern and brilliant in his insights, can be a model for new generations to follow, so that their journey may be made fruitful," he said. The pope's remarks came in a letter addressed to Friar Carlos Trovarelli, minister general of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, marking the occasion of the 800th anniversary of St. Anthony entering religious life. In the letter, published June 3 on the order's website — ofmconv.net — Pope Francis recalled how this young man, born in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, decided to turn his life around after learning about the martyrdom of five Franciscans killed because of their faith in Morocco.
On this physical and spiritual journey that began 800 years ago, the saint went to Morocco to "experience the Gospel in the footsteps of the Franciscan friars who had been martyred there," the pope wrote. The saint then landed in Sicily after being shipwrecked on the Italian coast, "an event which happens to so many of our brothers and sisters today," he added. From Sicily, he traveled with St. Francis of Assisi in Italy and France, then moved to Padua, where his body is preserved. "I hope that this significant anniversary will arouse, especially in the Franciscan religious and the devotees of St. Anthony around the world, the desire to experience the same holy restlessness that prompted St. Anthony to travel the roads of the world bearing witness, through word and deed, to the love of God," the pope wrote. Born Fernando Martins de Bulhoes, St. Anthony was renowned for his powerful preaching and devotion to the poor and ill. He was beatified and canonized just one year after his death in 1231. His feast day is June 13, and he is the patron saint of lost objects, animals, pregnant women, travelers and many others.
Support UCA News...
UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.
UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.
Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.
As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.