Together with two good friends I went on a little pilgrimage this morning to the Basilica of Sant’Antonio on the Via Merulana. The church was full of devotees of Saint Anthony. There were lines at all the confessionals. At the entrance to the basilica was a Franciscan priest with an aspergillum, giving a blessing to the faithful as they entered. Blessed lilies were much in evidence but they were artificial ones in cellophane packaging! I said the Gloria Patri seven times in honour of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost in the life and works of Saint Anthony. And like the other pilgrims gathered around the statue of Saint Anthony in festal array, I presented my petitions to the glorious Wonderworker. Viva Sant’Antonio!
The Blessing of Lilies and of Bread
in Honour of Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church
O God, the Creator of all things, the Source of all loveliness, the lover of holy purity, and the giver of spiritual grace. Graciously bless these lilies offered today in thanksgiving to you and in honour of Saint Anthony. Pour out on them heavenly dew by the saving sign + of the most holy Cross. O merciful God, who have endowed these lilies with a most delightful fragrance to be a comfort and help to those on their sickbeds, imbue them now with so great a virtue that whether they are used at home, in a sickroom, or carried about one’s person, they may have power, through the intercession of Saint Anthony, to drive out evil spirits, to safeguard chastity, to turn away illness, and to bestow on your servants peace and grace. Through Christ our Lord.
The lilies are sprinkled with holy water.
Most Holy Father, Giver of our daily bread, hear our prayers that those who share this bread in honour of Saint Anthony, the brilliant preacher of your Word and lover of the poor, may taste the inward effect of your heavenly blessing, and hunger always after the true Bread come down from heaven. Bless, we beseech you, these loaves + and mercifully grant that those who celebrate the festival of Saint Anthony today may, by eating this bread with reverence, attain the corporal and spiritual health they desire. Through Christ our Lord.
The loaves are sprinkled with holy water.
(Adapted from the Roman and Seraphic Rituals)