Friday, November 4, 2011

First Friday of November...

Today was First Friday, and as we have committed to trying to make a pilgrimage of one sort or another each month this year, we decided to go down to Ellicott City, to the Shrine of St Anthony.
Brendan has a very special love for St Anthony and St Anthony seems to have a love for Brendan as well. They are pretty tight.
Our friends the Bowers were there as well. It was great to see Yanna and Val take up the gifts at the Offeratory!
This shrine is wonderful!
I have taken information off of the website, the text in blue is copied from there....

His story is so beautiful. You can read it HERE.

The Jewel of the Shrine


The jewel of the Shrine, and its most important room, is the Chapel.  Upon entering the Chapel itself, one should pause, realizing that this is "sacred space" and "holy ground" – where an atmosphere of holy silenceprevails, creating an oasis of peace for the Divine Presence within.

With its beautifully carved gumwood choir stalls, its mosaic Stations of the Cross, and its coffered ceiling, the Chapel is a gem of the early Renaissance.It has four distinct areas: the interior narthex, the nave, the sanctuary, and the apse.

In the narthex is the reliquary of St. Anthony. This gold-leafed bust depicts the Portuguese Franciscan whom the whole world would come to know as the “miracle-worker” and “finder of lost things.”


In the middle of the flame is a precious first-class relic of the saint – a small piece of petrified flesh removed from his sarcophagus in Padua, Italy, in 1995. The friars in Padua sent the relic to the friars of Ellicott City in 1998.  Catholics venerate, orpay respect to, relics as remembrances of a saint whose human body was once a “temple” of the Holy Spirit.

Hundreds of thousands of people each year send the friars petitions for the heavenly intercession of St. Anthony – friend of God and friend to humanity.

The nave of the Chapel consists of the choir stalls facing each other. Here the friars would recite or chant the Divine Office, back and forth across the dark flagstone floor. The original choir stalls numbered 72, after the number of disciples sent out by Jesus in the Gospels. With the additional pews in front, the choir now seats 150.

The nave leads to the sanctuary, where Holy Mass is offered on the central Altar. The Altar was designed to evoke the teaching of Jesus “I am the vine; you are the branches”(John 15:1-8). The ambo (pulpit lectern) in the nave has a matching design, linking the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

These chapel furnishings attempt to evoke the spirit of St. Anthony, the friar and priest, who used every opportunity to encourage people to hear the Word of God and to participate in the Holy Eucharist.


The biblical tree motif also reminds people of the fact that St. Anthony, towards the end of his life, spent many hours of prayer in a walnut treehouse which his friend Count Tiso had constructed for him at Camposampiero. It was in that walnut tree that Anthony had his vision of the Christ child.

To the right of the altar is a large walnut Tau Cross. St. Francis of Assisi adopted the Tau as his “signature,” after he heard Pope Innocent III preach about it at the 4th Lateran Council. Depending upon the liturgical season of the year, one of two carved images of Christ hang on the Tau: Christ Crucified or the Resurrected Jesus. The corpus of Christ Crucified was carved at Niepokalanow, Poland, by an artist whose guardian and mentor was St. Maximilian Kolbe. The Resurrected Jesus, like many other chapel furnishings, came to Ellicott City from the former St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Massachusetts. 
Mass At Shrine

The apse at the far end of the Chapel centers upon the Tabernacle– designed with the biblical tree motif, and depicting the descent of the Holy Spirit with its seven spiritual gifts:  wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, knowledge, and fear of the Lord.

Persons are welcome to enter the apse for silent prayer and adoration. The sanctuary and apse together form the Shrine’s “oasis of peace,” where Jesus Christ welcomes people of all faiths to experience themselves as infinitely loved by God.
The first class relic:

For centuries great care has been taken to authenticate relics, particularly through the issuing of an accompanying statement of authenticity. In the case of the relic of St. Anthony of Padua at the Shrine of St. Anthony there is no question of authenticity. New relics of the saint were obtained when the saint’s tomb was opened in anticipation of his 800th birthday, which was celebrated in 1995; the relic in the Shrine chapel is one of those. The Latin inscription indicates that it is ex cute, dried skin or tissue.

The relic, and the unique reliquary that holds it, were gifts from the Friars of the Province of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy to the Friars of the Province of St. Anthony in America (the Provincial House, or headquarters, is on the same grounds as the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City). As the property was developing as a shrine the decision to place the relic in the chapel seemed appropriate, and this took place in a special ceremony in the fall of 2000.

Today, visitors to the Shrine, especially those who have a great devotion to St. Anthony, feel close to the great Miracle Worker. With this physical presence of St. Anthony there is a little bit of Padua in America

Tonight the mass was a healing Mass. There were a lot of people there. It was just beautiful!
We are so blest to have places like the St Anthony shrine to visit. It is an awesome testament to the Church and to St Anthony, that for 800 years he has been interceding in special and miraculous ways for people who ask him. He is a special friend of Our Lord and it is good to have him as a special patron.

St Anthony~ Pray For Us!

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