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Relic of St Anthony of Padua to go on a two-week tour of Britain

Relics of St Anthony are venerated at a parish in Chicago earlier this year (Photo: CNS)

A relic of St Anthony of Padua will be coming to Britain and Ireland later this year to mark the 750th anniversary of the discovery of the saint’s remains by St Bonaventure in 1263.

So far this year St Anthony’s relics have visited New York in February, California in April and Chicago, Canada and South Australia in June.

Fr Mario Conte, international editor of the Messenger of St Anthony magazine, will bring the relics from St Anthony’s Basilica in Padua to the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland on October 17-25 and then to Scotland, northern England and London on October 26-November 3.

A spokeswoman said the visit will involve all members of the Franciscan family – OFM Conventual, OFM, Capuchins and the Poor Clares. Fr Conte led a previous visit of relics of St Anthony to Britain in 1995.

The 13th-century St Anthony of Padua is the much-loved patron saint of lost things. St Francis of Assisi chose him to teach theology to members of his new Franciscan order and he is a Doctor of the Church.

St Anthony’s most famous relic, his tongue, which was found incorrupt when his grave was opened in 1263, 32 years after his death, is too fragile to leave the basilica, Fr Conte told The Catholic Herald. He will instead be bringing a statue holding a reliquary containing some of the saint’s skin.

There is nothing at all superstitious about relics, he said: “It’s love that is the real meaning of a relic, a link of love between you and that person.”

The visit to Britain and Ireland was suggested by Fr James McCurry, OFM Conv, the Minister Provincial for the St Anthony of Padua Province of Conventual Franciscan Friars in the USA.