Over 6,000 people queued up to venerate the relics of St Anthony of Padua at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 2 November.
The visit formed part of a global tour to mark the 750th anniversary of the discovery of the saint's remains by St Bonaventure in 1263.
The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, celebrated Mass in the presence of the relics which comprised of St Anthony’s petrified cheek stored in a golden reliquary.
During his homily the Archbishop shared the story of St Anthony’s travels and why we might pray to him not only when we have lost personal objects but also when we have lost our way along the path towards God. He also spoke of how his dedication to prayer and contemplation:
“The lesson we learn today for our pilgrimage through life is that we are to pray continually. St Anthony teaches us this, too. His finest gifts were those of preaching and teaching. But he had to wait until the time came for him to exercise these gifts to the full. Patient prayer carries us along this pilgrimage of life.”
Anthony of Padua, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born and raised in a wealthy family in Lisbon. Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of scripture, he was the second-fastest canonized saint (after St. Peter of Verona) and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946.