123rd Annual Feast of ‘St Anthony’s Ashram’ celebrated in Sombre due to Lockdown
- Let us all join hands together in defeating the pandemic- said the Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha during the 123rd Annual Feast mass of St Anthony’s Ashram
Mangaluru: It was 123 years ago on 12 June 1898 Msgr M.P.Colaco started Novena to Saint Anthony at Milagres Church. Innumerable people without caste and creed have received favours from God through the powerful intercession of Saint Anthony during the past 123 years. On the following day, 13 June the feast of Saint Anthony was celebrated solemnly. Thereafter, Msgr Colaco started celebrating Holy Mass every Tuesday at the altar of the Saint and conducted novena prayers. The response from the people was beyond all expectations. Not only the parishioners of Milagres but many faithful from other parishes in and around Mangaluru and even from places beyond the town limits began to flock to these Tuesday devotions. It is an occasion for all of us to thank God for the blessings showered on us because of this devotion to Saint Anthony.
At this ashram, Saint Anthony’s solidarity has reached out to those who need it most. Although St Anthony has left the world with a great legacy of teachings and has set the priests a glorious example of charity, of what it means to be there for the poorest of the poor. The Priests and the management at St Anthony’s Charity Institutes are daily engaged in the task of practicing this great mission which the Saint has enjoined upon them: to spread the Gospel and to practice Charity. Thanks to the dear donors, St Anthony’s Charity Institutes have reached greater heights in serving the destitute and disabled. The Institutes assist those suffering loneliness and deprivation – In the Saint’s name, they reach out to the remotest, most forsaken everywhere, forsaken even by hope itself. This has been made possible through the solidarity of countless friends. At the heart of each project is Saint Anthony’s driving force. This is why they act with the will to promote the well-being of every person, to restore their dignity and the power to forge a brighter future for themselves.
And 123 years later, the devotional practices still continue, and on Sunday, 13 June the Annual Feast/123rd Birthday of St Anthony’s Ashram, Jeppu-Mangaluru was celebrated in sombre due to Covid-19 protocols. Most Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha the Bishop of Mangalore offered the Holy Mass at St Anthony Ashram Jeppu on the annual feast. On this occasion, the Bishop in his homily said, ‘St Anthony filled with zeal to preach the word of God toiled tirelessly throughout his short life of thirty-six years. He walked miles not minding hunger, thirst and rest with the intention of spreading the Good News preached by Jesus. He enjoyed the intimacy with Jesus so much that Jesus appeared to him when he was deeply engrossed in prayer”.
Bishop further said, “His holy life attracted people and pleased God so much that he was canonized as Saint within a short period of eleven months. He continues to attract people even after his death and his intercession is considered very powerful especially when things are lost. It is a common belief among the people that if Saint Anthony is invoked when things are lost he never lets them down but finds the same for them. He is also popularly known as ‘Wonder Worker’”. The Bishop said, ‘As we honour this great Saint, let us pray to God through his intercession to be kind and merciful to the entire humanity which is wounded and hurt badly by the pandemic’. He further called on the devotees to join hands in defeating the pandemic.
On the occasion of the feast of Saint Anthony, the ‘United Catholics’ Facebook page had conducted a quiz on the life of Saint Anthony. The winners were declared by the Bishop after picking the names from among those who wrote correct answers. The Ashram also distributed food kits to the needy while celebrating the feast of its patron. As a kind gesture to the media persons, who even during this Covid pandemic are fulfilling their duties, food kits were distributed to them at 5.30 pm, prior to the Holy festive mass at 6 pm by the Bishop. The mass was telecasted on a local TV channel. Fr Onil D’Souza, the director of the Ashram thanked all those who helped to celebrate the feast in a meaningful way. Fr Roshan D’Souza the Assistant Director conducted the novena.
During the 13 days of novena “TREDECINA” in preparation for the feast special prayers were offered for overcoming Covid 19, for those who are rendering service to the sick, for those who are affected directly and indirectly by the pandemic, for those who are stranded in different places and especially those who are working abroad. Prayers were also offered for various groups of people on each of the days of novena- for the farmers, the unemployed, labourers, children, parents, those working abroad, the sick etc.
The St Anthony Shrine attracts people from all over India and even from abroad. A lot of people from around the globe have visited the Shrine during the past 1203 years and have received innumerable favours through the powerful intercession of St Anthony. People irrespective of caste and creed have prayed to St Anthony and have received blessings from God through his intercession. Besides the devotion part, hundreds of destitute have been looked after for decades under the Patronage of St Anthony at Jeppu. And they have been supported by the devotees of St Anthony. St Anthony through the generosity of his devotees takes care of the little ones of Jesus at Jeppu Ashram. Hence it is an apt occasion to thank God for the gift of St Anthony to the Universal Church and to Mangaluru in particular. Support St Anthony’s Ashram, and you will be abundantly blessed!
Ending this column with an Unfailing Prayer to St Anthony:
“Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.” O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (state request here). The answer to my prayer may require a miracle, even so, you are the Saint of Miracles. O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the Sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen. (Then say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be)