Novena to St. Anthony
Catholics often invoke the help of St. Anthony when something is lost and can’t be found. This is rooted in the early thirteenth century when Anthony, then a young Franciscan known for his heart-melting homilies, could not find the book of psalms in which he had written notes and ideas for teaching the faith. Anthony prayed fervently that it be found. Indeed it was returned by a young man who’d left the novitiate and pilfered the book but who was moved to return the book and return to the novitiate.
Catholics also invoke the help of St. Anthony through nine-week novenas conducted at churches around the world, including St. Mary of Lourdes.
At Lourdes, the statue of St. Anthony – whose piety earned him sainthood barely a year after his death – is mounted prominently on the right altar, next to Jesus. As with most images of Anthony, he is shown holding Jesus in childhood.
This goes back to Anthony’s service as a Franciscan when it was noticed that a bright light shown under the door to his room. Inside, it was found that he lovingly held in his arms a small child from whom rays of bright light radiated.
During his life, and immediately afterwards, many, many miracles were attributed to his intercession.
Thus, after 8 a.m. Mass each Tuesday, led by a deacon, congregants at St. Mary of Lourdes pray the Novena to St. Anthony beginning with these words: “O glorious St. Anthony, safe refuge of the afflicted and distressed, who through a miraculous revelation, has directed all those who seek your aid to approach you altar, with the promise that whoever visits it for nine consecutive Tuesdays and there piously invokes you, will feel the power of your intercession.”
Then all move forward and are touched by a relic of the saint who finds things and grants miracles.