St. Anthony of Padua

"St. Anthony of Padua" by Bartolomeo Vivarini

Born Fernando Martins de Bulhões on 15 August 1195 in Lisbon, as a young man he was raised as the son of a rich and noble family, and received a fine education at the Cathedral School there. His family had great plans for him, but young Fernando felt the call to religious life and joined the Canons Regular at the Abbey of St. Vincent just outside Lisbon. The Canons highly valued education, and Fernando continued his studies in theology and Latin.

He was ordained to the priesthood and was given charge of hospitality at the abbey. In the course of his duties he met some Franciscans who were on their way to Morocco to preach the Gospel. These men eventually were martyred, and when news of that came to Fernando, he sought permission to leave the Augustinian Canons to enter the Franciscan life. Permission was given to him, and he took the name of Anthony upon his reception.

St. Anthony, known as a powerful preacher, had that gift uncovered almost by accident. There was an ordination of one of the Franciscans taking place. Circumstance prevented the appointed preacher from being there, and just before the time for the sermon, the Franciscan superior told Anthony to enter the pulpit. His simple eloquence captivated everyone, and from that time onward he was assigned to go throughout northern Italy as a preacher. His words allowed the Holy Spirit to touch even the most hardened of hearts, and St. Anthony came to be known as the “Hammer of Heretics.” He is called “of Padua” because that city became the center from which he went on his many preaching missions. Respect and devotion to him was so strong that St. Anthony was canonized within a year of his death, his feast day being June 13th, and in 1946 he was declared to be a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII.


Praise to God the mighty Father, who didst call Saint Anthony
from a life of sore temptation to the way of purity.
Humble work and meek obedience marked his holy way of love;
now, his earthly task completed, works his wonders from above.

Praise to Jesus Christ our Saviour, who didst give Saint Anthony
grace to preach with zeal and boldness, giving truth new charity.
Men, once lost, who heard the Gospel from the lips of Francis' son
came to know God's grace and favour, and the life which Christ had won.

Praise to God the Holy Spirit, who inspired Saint Anthony
in the way of love and service, calling men to charity,
lifting up the fallen sinner, feeding them with Living Bread,
showing men the way to heaven, there to live with Christ their Head.

Gracious Doctor and Confessor, holy Priest with golden tongue,
joined with all the saints of heaven, praising God the Three in One;
help us in our earthly journey, keep our thoughts on God most high,
that with thee, Christ's saint and servant, we may live and never die.

Tune: Rustington, by Charles H. H. Parry (1848-1918)
Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips

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Simple saint and faithful priest,
at this Eucharistic feast
we recall thy holy face,
and with thee our Lord embrace.
Give us true simplicity:
pray for us, Saint Anthony.

Word of God thou didst proclaim;
unto thee God's Spirit came,
bringing faith when thou didst preach,
showing truth when thou didst teach.
May we speak words truthfully:
pray for us Saint Anthony.

Error flees before God's Light:
through thy life Christ shineth bright,
showing men the way to peace,
evil's hold from them release.
Free from evil may we be:
pray for us Saint Anthony.

Tune: Bread of Heaven, by William Dalrymple Maclagan (1826-1910)
Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips

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Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

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