By Sarah Mac Donald - 21 October, 2013
Huge crowds have been turning out to greet the relics of St Anthony on their visit around Ireland.
In the Church of the Holy Trinity in Cork on Sunday, the heavy rain could not deter hundreds of devotees who queued for almost 45 minutes for a chance to venerate the two relics which have travelled from Padua to mark the 750th anniversary of the finding of St Anthony’s relics by St Bonaventure.
During the course of the afternoon, one of the two relics, which is contained in a smaller reliquary, was taken by Fr Mario Conte, OFM Conv, for an hour’s private veneration to the Poor Clare Sisters in their enclosed monastery in the city.
The Poor Clares were founded by St Clare and St Francis and are part of the Franciscan family.
Meanwhile, on Saturday thousands of people came to the Franciscan Church of Adam and Eve on Merchant’s Quay to venerate the relics.
Fr Niall Collins OFM told CatholicIreland.net that there had been a queue of people all the way down Cork Street for most of the day. “It has been manic,” he explained and he estimated that the crowd totalled as many as 10,000 for the full day. Throughout the day taxis were drawing up along the Quays to drop off pilgrims.
On Saturday morning, Fr Mario Conte was interviewed in the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio 1.
The Editor of the ‘Messenger of St Anthony’ who accompanied the relics to the US before coming to Ireland, told the programme that the visit was part of a worldwide tour.
He said 4-5 million pilgrims annually come to Padua to venerate the relics but in view of the particular anniversary this year, St Anthony was visiting “his friends around the world.”
Today the relics will visit St John’s Cathedral in Limerick where Bishop Brendan Leahy will lead the celebration.
Tomorrow the relics travel on to Galway Cathedral where Bishop Drennan will participate in ceremonies.
On Wednesday, the relics return to the Capuchins in Dublin and will be at St Mary of the Angels in Church Street before they travel on Thursday to St Peter’s Cathedral in Belfast.
St Anthony was born in Lisbon in 1195 and died in Padua in 1231. He was made a saint within a year of his death.