Thousands find their way to St Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney to see relics of St Anthony

Thousands of people yesterday showed their veneration in St Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney, Co Kerry, for the relics of St Anthony of Padua, the 13th century saint revered as the finder of lost things.

Thousands find their way to St Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney to see relics of St Anthony

A steady stream which began at 10am built to a crescendo for a special evening veneration.

Greyfriars who have gathered from a number of countries to accompany the relics on their 2016 tour of Ireland and Britain yesterday said they were astonished at the faith of people.

Brother Daniel, from the US and based in Oxford in England, said the tour is “a beautiful experience”.

The previous night, Brother Cyprian prayed over people in Cahir, Co Tipperary, until well after midnight.

Fr Jim Lenihan makes the sign of the cross with St Anthony’s relics for Donie Sheahan. Pic: Don MacMonagle
Fr Jim Lenihan makes the sign of the cross with St Anthony’s relics for Donie Sheahan. Pic: Don MacMonagle

“People are pouring out their hearts. They are coming with special needs and heavy hearts,” said Br Daniel.

He was struck especially by the deep concern of the Irish people for their families and for other people. “It’s beautiful to see the faith of the people. There is a whole re-founding of the faith.”

St Anthony was not just a finder of lost things. He was also a finder of “lost sobriety, lost peace of mind, lost dealing with life,” the friar said.

Young and old attended the Pugin-designed cathedral where day-long prayers and talks were held.

Marie Fleming, in her 40s and from Muckross, said the arrival of the relics meant “the world” to her.

“I have a beautiful faith in St Anthony, a lifelong faith. I was given a statue of St Anthony when I was 13 and I pray for everything. Other people’s problems as well.”

Ms Fleming and many other worshippers spent several hours at the veneration.

Many worshippers spent hours at the veneration of St Anthony’s relics. Pic: Don MacMonagle
Many worshippers spent hours at the veneration of St Anthony’s relics. Pic: Don MacMonagle

Fifth and sixth class confirmation candidates from nearby Holy Cross Mercy primary school were well acquainted with St Anthony.

Teacher Rhonda Daly’s group of 11- and 12-year-olds sat quietly listening. Amy O’Donoghue, in fifth class, said: “If I lose something, I pray to him.”

Her friend Carlise Caffrey said she would only ask his aid for “important things” she had mislaid, not for unimportant items. But she would pray to him for the “big things”.

One of the relics on tour, a piece of floating rib, had led a procession through the streets of the Argentinian capital in 2000 by Pope Francis when he was still Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio.

The other relic is that of layers of cheek skin.

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