On Saturday, December 7, two first-class and precious relics of the Portuguese-born saint, Saint Anthony of Padua, will visit Santa Sophia Roman Catholic Church in Spring Valley. The Church is located at 9800 Saint Juan Street. Veneration will be from 2 PM to 6:30 PM. The Vigil Mass will be at 4:30 PM.
At the invitation of the Pastor, Father Devdas Masillamony, Father Bortolino Maistrello will bring the holy relics from the saint’s Basilica, Saint Anthony of Padua, in Padua, Italy. There are two exquisite reliquaries: one contains layers of skin of the saint’s face and the other a fragment of his floating rib. Tom Muscatello, North America Representative, will accompany Friar Bortolino.
Father Bortolino is one of fifty-two Franciscan OFM Conventual Friars who minister in the Pontifical Basilica in Padua, where the saint is buried.
As Saint John Paul II tells us, “The most beautiful and stirring adventure that can happen to you is the personal meeting with Jesus, who is the only one who gives real meaning to our lives.” Pope Francis shares “The saints give us a message. They tell us: be faithful to the Lord, because the Lord does not disappoint! He does not disappoint ever, and he is a good friend always at our side.” According to Friar Mario Conte, the Executive Editor of the Messenger of St Anthony, a magazine written, published and printed by the Franciscan Friars in Padua for the English-speaking world, “There is nothing superstitious about relics. The real meaning of a relic is love – they are a link of love between the person who venerates and the saint. In recognizing that only God performs miracles, it is through the communion of saints that we are brought closer to Our Lord.”
In an address in Cologne, Germany, Thursday, August 18, 2005, Pope Benedict Emeritus said of relics “By inviting us to venerate the mortal remains of the martyrs and saints, the Church does not forget that, in the end, these are indeed just human bones, but they are bones that belonged to individuals touched by the living power of God. The relics of the saints are traces of that invisible but real presence which sheds light upon the shadows of the world and reveals the Kingdom of Heaven in our midst.”