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Today is the feast of one the Church’s most popular saints—Anthony of Padua. In many places he is best known as the saint whose intercession is invoked when something is lost. How did this tradition ever get started?
Anthony was a great preacher and teacher and he lived before the invention of the printing press. Thus, manuscripts were very valuable. Anthony had several biblical manuscripts and commentaries for his work. One day someone stole a valuable manuscript. Anthony prayed for its safe return and, as the thief was on his way to sell it, he had a terrible vision that so frightened him he decided to return the manuscript to its owner.
What’s worse than a lost article? A lost person. Many people in our world feel lost and abandoned by family, friends, the Church, and society. This month Pope Francis wants us to direct our attention toward them, praying “that the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find opportunities for encounter and solidarity.”
Let’s ask St. Anthony to pray with us today for all who feel lost. We do this knowing that God may answer our prayer by making us more aware of the opportunities that come our way to encounter the lost and help them experience solidarity.
James Kubicki, S.J.
U.S. Director – Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network