13 June 2018

Local Christians celebrate Saint Anthony in the Holy Land

On 12 and 13 June, at the place of the Revelation of God, the Franciscans and local Christians celebrate with great joy the feast of Saint Anthony, known as the Ark of the Testament.

Liturgies

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Celebrating the memory of St Anthony in the Holy Land. This is the man who was recognized as the Ark of the Testament and Doctor of the Church precisely because of his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. This feast has great significance.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON , ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"When we read his sermons, a manual of content for those who study theology in view of preaching, we find an infinity of Biblical quotations from the Old and New Testaments. And we find the ability of Anthony to bring together and to unite through his interpretation the words of the Old and New Testament, always bringing everything back to that key of fundamental meaning Who is Jesus Himself".

The celebration in honour of St Anthony, patron of the Custos of the Holy Land, began on the eve of the Feast with the prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, led by the Custos, Br Francesco Patton.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON , ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
" For Anthony, for example, Jesus is the Wisdom of the Father who is present at the beginning of creation to enlighten all creation, to enlighten every person. This Wisdom then becomes flesh and the Son of God Whom we recognize in Jesus, born from Virgin Mary and at the same time becoming Wisdom, the Word Who accompanies, guides and lights up the journey of our life".

On this occasion the faithful had the privilege of receiving the blessing with the relic and also the traditional bread of Saint Anthony.

On the day of the feast, the Custos of the Holy Land celebrated a solemn mass. Among those present, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa and representatives of the Christian Churches in the Holy City.

The Custos recalled the story of St Anthony, an authentic friend who interceded for the Franciscans in the most difficult moments. Even in recent times - he continued - the friars who are in Syria bear witness to his protection in the midst of the war.

Br Francesco also said that Anthony did not seek success or prestige here on earth, but on the contrary wanted to identify himself with the mystery of the humility of Jesus Christ, the great love of his life.

St Anthony is loved all over the world and the Middle East is no exception: the local Christians of the Holy Land are particularly devoted to him.

These children, dressed as the saint, received a special blessing!

"These are my twins, Sharbel and Bishara. I promised to dress them like Saint Anthony as my eldest son. I love St. Anthony with all my heart and I believe in him. I hope he can always be at the side of my children and protect them".