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Deacon's Corner 11/5/2023

As I sat down to write this Deacon’s Corner my mind was more focused on my lost church keys because I had just given up after 30 minutes of looking for them. I had the keys in my hand and walked out the door to get our mail from the church office after first stopping by the truck to get something. When I arrived at the church door my keys were gone! The entire walk and retrieval from the truck lasted less than a minute. So, where could my keys be!?

Three times I retraced my steps, searched the truck, and dug through the garbage to no avail. Feeling defeated, I walked back to the house as Kimberly was putting dinner on the table. I thought, well St. Anthony, this is your department. I decided to squeeze in one more search with a flashlight just as it was getting dark. Within 30 seconds I found my keys! They were in the parking lot blended in among some fallen leaves. I immediately thanked St. Anthony. So, what is it about St. Anthony that we pray for his help to find lost things?

St. Anthony of Padua was a Catholic priest and Franciscan friar who lived from 1195 to 1231. His feast day is June 13. He was born to a wealthy Portuguese family. He became known throughout Portugal and parts of Italy as a commanding speaker and is often considered the greatest preacher of the Middle Ages. St. Anthony was entrusted by St. Francis of Assisi to train young seminarians studying for ordination in the Franciscan Order.

The tradition of calling upon St. Anthony when something is lost or stolen can be traced back to an incident that occurred in Bologna. According to legend, Anthony had a psalter (a book of psalms) in which he kept notes and comments he used in teaching his seminarian students. In the days before the printing press, a printed book was expensive and difficult to replace.

Anthony’s psalter was stolen by a novice who left the order and took the book with him. When Anthony realized the book was missing, he prayed that it might be returned or found. Anthony’s prayers were answered. The thief had a change of heart — eventually returning the book and returning to seminary. That psalter is now preserved in the Franciscan Friary in Bologna, Italy.

Today, we pray for St. Anthony to intercede when we’ve lost something. BUT we can also pray for his help for someone who has lost faith, or for a lost loved one. No, I don’t think he miraculously put my keys where I could find them, and it wasn’t a coincidence either. I do believe he helped clear my mind so I could slow down and focus on where they could be. St. Anthony, pray for us, and thank you for inspiring me to write my story for my Deacon’s Corner this week.

Deacon John

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