BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a tour of the most unusual kind. Relics of St. Anthony are on a 10-day visit to Boston area Catholic churches, and for the faithful, it’s a rare opportunity.
St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things, and one of the most venerated Catholic saints. Many Catholics pray to him not only for help finding possessions, but also about more profound losses.
The line didn’t end at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Boston Tuesday as people from all walks of life spent a quiet, respectful moment before the relics. “Personally, he’s one of my favorite saints,” Kate Reynolds told us.
“It was very moving just to be there and you felt like you were in the presence of someone very special,” says Richard Gill.
Many Catholics learn a prayer to him as children. “St. Anthony, St. Anthony look around. There’s something lost and must be found,” remembers Pricilla Sarat.
“Anytime I ask St. Anthony, anytime there’s something lost, for whatever reason, I seem to find it,” says Ines de la Cruz.
The reliquaries contain a small piece of bone and a small piece of the saint’s skin. “People consider St. Anthony to be a friend,” says Friar Mario Conte who brought the relics to Boston from Anthony’s Basilica in Italy.
“Anthony is very close to God and is always there, pulling God’s sleeve. And so they come here because their friend St. Anthony is here, and they want to ask him, Anthony, pray to God for me.”
Many miracles have been attributed to Anthony that go far beyond finding simple items. “It’s not just finding your car keys or your glasses. It’s about the loss of hope, the loss of faith, perhaps the loss of courage,” says Fr. Frank Sevola of St. Anthony’s Shrine.
“It works. This is why people pray to St. Anthony, because it works,” says Friar Conte.
Why the patron saint of lost things? The story is that Anthony lost a book when he was a young man and prayed that it would be found, and it was. The relics will be on display at five more churches in the Boston area through Sunday.
CLICK HERE for more information on visiting the relics.