They simply came to say thanks.
The remains, contained in a golden statue of the Franciscan monk, were in St Anthony’s Church in Clontarf. It was a hugely personal experience for those who came to see their heavenly friend.
Anne Flaherty from Malahide, Co Dublin, was one of those who came to say thanks. She was successfully treated for cancer last December and believes St Anthony helped in her recovery.
Anne was in hospital getting ready for her operation when a stranger handed her a statue of the saint. “I remember how fearful I was at the time but God is good and I firmly believe it was St Anthony had a word in his ear on my behalf.”
Anne’s friend, Catherine Leehane (Stet) from Clontarf, said she also liked to have a bet and it seemed the saint had interceded on her behalf too.
“There was a horse running the other day and it was number five, the same day the relics of St Anthony were arriving in Ireland.
“The horse was called San Antonio. It won by six lengths and we had all backed him.”
Another woman who had come to say thanks was Mary Ryan from Donaghamede.
She had lost her special gold bracelet for three days and St Anthony had found it for her. It was a present from her late husband, Patrick, who died 15 years ago.
“It is very precious to me and I got into an awful panic when I lost it but I prayed to St Anthony and he found it for me.”
Steph-Nora Mathias from Nigeria had come with her six-month child Kelly to simply ask the saint if he would intercede on her behalf so that she could stay in Ireland where she felt safe.
Fr Mario Conte from the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua, who has brought the saint’s relics to people all over the world, said the Franciscan’s greatest gift was knowing how to reach out to ordinary people.
But he stressed that the relics did not have any supernatural powers.
“Worshipping the relics is like going towards a friend and giving him your hand,” he explained.
Details of the relics’ tour of churches in Dublin and Carlow are available on the Catholic Communication Office’s website at www.catholiccommunications.ie.