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  the spiritual experience
 
Guide to a spiritual experience in the Basilica.
How to make the most of a visit to the Basilica?
How to best experience a spiritual pilgrimage to the Basilica?


The pilgrimage has some characteristic elements:

  • request for help (especially in difficult moments);
  • thanks for having obtained it;
  • making peace with God and the friars through the sacrament of penance/reconciliation
  • meeting Christ in the Eucharist.

The following is a guide to the spiritual experience of a pilgrimage to the Basilica of St. Anthony. These are notes to facilitate a triple meeting: with St. Anthony, with the mercy of God and with Jesus Christ the Redeemer. This can be used to prepare yourself for a visit to the Basilica or to guide a celebration in your community.

It is divided into three parts. You can read it following the links of the index or by printing it out.


  1. Meeting St. Anthony: a confidential listener.
  2. Meeting the mercy of God: celebrating reconciliation
  3. Meeting Christ the Redeemer: celebrating the Eucharist
In the appendix there are some prayers to St. Anthony and Christian prayers

St. Anthony guides the pilgrim. He writes in his sermons:


Meeting St. Anthony: a confidential listener


Pilgrims praying at St. Anthony's tombWriting to Timothy, St. Paul shows the order of making a request to God saying:
"I suggest you use supplication, prayers, requests, thanks"
  • Among these spiritual exercises, prayer is an affectionate way on man's part of complying with God, it is an intimate and adoring meeting, the enlightened soul lingers in enjoying God as far as it is conceded.

  • Supplication is a passionate request to God since, without the grace of God, our mental efforts only add to our suffering.

  • The request is the soliciting and obtaining of worldly things necessary in our lives; and thanks consists of understanding and penetrating the grace of God, untiringly focusing our attention on God.

There are three ways of establishing a relationship with God. St. Anthony helps and guides the pilgrim, listening to his heart. He welcomes life, joy, pain, hope. He helps us express to ourselves and to God how much we hold in our hearts, though we sometimes are worried. He pays attention to our requests, celebrates in the graces God has given us, helps us to implore the mercy of God, he urges us to adhere to God and His son Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.

The hand on the tomb is a silent gesture characteristic of the pilgrim. It expresses trust, affection, confiding in secrecy, and the need for physical contact which every pilgrim carries within.

Many pilgrims write their own prayer of petition to St. Anthony, and they place it on his tomb. They use postcards which can be found at the entrance to the Basilica or at the end of the exhibition on St. Anthony in the General Cloister. Before arriving at the Basilica, you can send a prayer to St. Anthony or ask for a postcard by internet, from our website

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Meeting with the mercy of God: celebrating Penance

St. Anthony guides us to the Sacrament of Penance. He is the apostle of individual confession. He used to spend entire days listening to the confessions of penitents. His Basilica has always been a place where you can encounter the mercy of God.
St. Anthony, in his Sermons, wrote a beautiful eulogy to confession:

P. Annigoni, The return of the Prodigal Son, detail, 1985
"The sacrament of penance has been called the house of God, because sinners reconcile with Him there, just as the prodigal son reconciled with his father who welcomed him once again to his house. It is also called the gate of Heaven, seeing that through confession the sinner is led to kiss the feet, hands, face of the Divine Lord. Oh house of God! Oh confession, gate of Paradise! Blessed is he who dwells in thee, who enters through thee! Humble yourselves, my brothers and enter through this holy door."

Confessions are heard in the confessionals along the ambulatory of the Basilica, behind the presbytery, or in the confessional room, on the west side of the Magnolia Cloister.

Here is a preparation for the sacrament of penance.



Introduction

To receive the sacrament of penance it is firstly necessary to recognise our sins before God and decide to live our lives following the teachings of the Gospel. This commitment consumes all our energy and, apart from past feelings of guilt, allows us to look to the future with great faith. God, through penance, opens up a road which leads us to freedom. Christ Himself through His words, by His example and the force of His spirit, calls us to a new way of life.

God's Word

From the Gospel according to Matthew (22,34-40)

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to test him, one of them put a question to him, "Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?" Jesus said, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments stand the whole Law and the Prophets also."

Outline for an examination of conscience

1. "Love God with all your heart" (examine yourself on: the sincerity and maturity of your faith, your commitment to Christian instruction and adherence to Church doctrine, respect for the name of God and the Virgin Mary, daily prayer and participation in weekend Mass, superstitious practises... ).

2. "Love each other as I have loved you" (in particular look at: reciprocal love in familial relationships, behaving justly to individuals and the state, charity to those in need, practising sincerity and loyalty, respect for life from its first inception, forgiving insults and offences... ).

3. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit (thus: your interest in your spiritual life, control gluttony and the senses, chastity of body and heart, the correct use of means of social communication... ).

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

Absolution given by a priest

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thanks

Almighty and eternal God, you who correct with justice and pardon with infinite mercy, receive our humble thanks. You, who in your providence arranged everything according to your plan of love, let the grace of your pardon bring the fruit of conversion to our hearts that we may always live in your love. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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Meeting Jesus Christ the Redeemer: celebrating the Eucharist


the Celebration of the Eucharist

The pilgrimage culminates here. Meeting with the living Jesus Christ the Redeemer, in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Here St. Anthony expresses his role as intermediary and intercessor. He brings us to Christ and invites us to adhere to Him with all our heart and all our love, as he did.

St. Anthony wrote in his Sermons that the Eucharist was a miraculous theological synthesis:


We must firmly believe and openly confess that the same body which was born of the Virgin Mary, hung from the cross, placed in the tomb, resurrected on the third day, and which rose to join God's right hand, was given by Christ to the apostles as food, and this is what the Church consecrates every day and gives to the faithful.

On the altar, in the form of bread and wine, Jesus Himself is present, changed from human flesh into an offering to the Lord which to this day is offered daily.


Holy Mass in honour of St. Anthony

Antiphon

Announce the glory of God to the people, great is the glory of God, worthy is He of praise: (at Easter add: alleluia).

Collection

Almighty and eternal God, who in St. Anthony has given Your people an outstanding preacher and patron of the poor and suffering, through his intercession may we follow the teachings of the Gospel and in doing so benefit from your mercy. For our Lord Jesus Christ, Your son, who is God and lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.

First reading

The first reading is taken from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (9,16-19.22-23)

Brothers, I do not boast of preaching the Gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it, but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put in my hands. Do you know what my reward is? It is this: in my preaching, to be able to offer the Good News free, and not insist on my rights which the Gospel gives me.

So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. For the weak I made myself weak. I made myself all things to all men in order to share some at any cost; and I still do this, for the sake of the Gospel, to have a share in its blessings.
This is the word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm

From psalm 95

Response: Proclaim the salvation of the Lord to all peoples.

Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name. R.

Announce his salvation day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds. R.

Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and praise; give to the Lord the glory due his name! R.

Say among the nations: The Lord is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity. R.

Gospel Antiphon

Alleluia, alleluia. The kingdom of God is among us, says the Lord; spread peace to mankind.
Alleluia.

Gospel

From the Gospel of St. Luke 10,1-9

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples and sent them out ahead of Him, in pairs, to all the towns and places He Himself was to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send the labourers to His harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among the wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no-one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, 'Peace to this house!' And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages. Do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick and say, 'The kingdom of God is very near to you'."
This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Prayer of the faithful

My bothers and sisters, in remembering St. Anthony of Padua, with complete trust in his intercession, let us direct our prayer to God, the Father of Mercy.

Let us say: Hear us, O Lord.

1. For our Holy Mother, the Church, that all of the members of the People of God be firm in faith, let us pray.

2. For the suffering, the needy and the sick, that they be freed from troubles and have relief and comfort, let us pray.

3. For all those of us who rejoice in the protection of St. Anthony, that we may imitate his virtues and holiness, let us pray.

4. For all of us who participate in this Eucharist, may the example of St. Anthony lead us to follow a truly Christian life, let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, give us the gift of your love and the love for our neighbour: let this be the light of our life; may it be a means of purification of all our sins and may it lift us to the glory of eternal light. You are blessed and glorious forever. Amen.

Preface

It is truly right to give you thanks and praise,
Almighty and Eternal God, through Christ our Lord.
The source of all life and holiness,
you have enriched your servant Anthony in the science of the Saints,
and, filling him with your spirit,
you have led him on the path of truth and justice so that he may bear witness to the saving power of your word and the gentleness of your paternal love.
With the same zeal,
with which he preached your word here on earth and now magnifies your glory in heaven,
we too with all the angels and Saints proclaim your glory.

Prayer over the offerings

Sanctify, Lord, with your blessing the gifts that we offer you in memory of Saint Anthony, and transform them for us into a sacrament of salvation, that we who come to your altar may be freed of every sin, and may participate at the banquet of eternal life. Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon

The Lord sent His disciples to announce to the cities: the kingdom of God is at hand (at Easter add: alleluia).

Prayer after Communion

O God, our Father, confirm us in our faith through the mysterious strength of this sacrament, that we may always be witnesses to the truth of the Gospels, a truth for which Saint Anthony worked tirelessly until his death. Through Christ our Lord.

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Prayers to St. Anthony

G. Tessari, St. Anthony listening and speaking, detail, 1524


Brief - "Tredicina"

1. O glorious St. Anthony, you who have received from God the power to raise the dead, awaken my soul from its apathy and obtain for me a fervent and holy life. Glory be to the Father, etc.

2. O wise St. Anthony, you who were light for the Holy Church as well as for the entire world through your teaching, enlighten my soul and open it for divine truth. Glory be to the Father, etc.

3. O pious Saint, always ready to help those devoted to you, help me and my family in our present needs. Glory be to the Father, etc.

4. O generous Saint, you who by accepting divine inspiration have consecrated your life to the service of God, grant that I may hear the voice of the Lord with submissiveness. Glory be to the Father, etc.

5. O St. Anthony, true lily of purity, do not permit that my soul be stained by sin but obtain for me purity of heart from our Lord. Glory be to the Father, etc.

6. O dear Saint, through whose intercession so many sick people have found health, help my soul to heal from sin and evil inclinations. Glory be to the Father, etc.

7. O St. Anthony, you who have given yourself to save your brothers, lead me through the sea of life and give me your help in order that I may reach the safe harbour of eternal salvation. Glory be to the Father, etc.

8. O compassionate St. Anthony, you who have freed so many condemned prisoners during your life, obtain for me the grace that I be freed from the bonds of sin and live in the grace of God for all eternity. Glory be to the Father, etc..

9. O holy Thaumaturge, you who have had the gift of reuniting to the body limbs that have been cut off, grant that I may never be separated from the love of God, and the unity of the Church. Glory be to the Father, etc.

10. O Saint Anthony, you who have always helped to find lost objects, grant that I may never lose God's friendship, but that I may conserve it faithfully throughout my life. Glory be to the Father, etc.

11. O patron of the poor, you who listen to those who turn to you, receive my prayer and present it to God that He might grant me His assistance. Glory be to the Father, etc.

12. O St. Anthony, you who were the untiring apostle of the word of God, grant that I may bear witness to my faith with words and deeds. Glory be to the Father, etc.

13. O most beloved St. Anthony, you who have your blessed tomb in Padua, look upon my needs, may your miraculous tongue speak to God for me, that my prayers may be heard. Glory be to the Father, etc.

Pray for us St. Anthony. Make us worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Almighty and Eternal God, you who in St. Anthony of Padua have given to Your people an illustrious preacher of the Gospel and a patron of the poor and the suffering, grant to us, through your intercession, to follow your teaching on Christian life and to experience, in trials, the help of your mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

If then you ask for miracles

(translation of the "Si quaeris")

If then you ask for miracles,
Death, error and all calamities,
Leprosy and demons fly,
And health succeeds infirmities.

The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs you do restore;
While treasures lost are found again,
When young and old your aid implore.

All dangers vanish at your prayer,
And direst need does quickly flee;
Let those who know your power proclaim,
Let Paduans say: these are of thee.

To Father, Son, may glory be
And Holy Spirit, eternally.

Pray for us St. Anthony.
Make us worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Lord God, may the commemoration of St. Anthony, Doctor of the Church, be a source of joy to your people, so that, strengthened by his spiritual assistance, they may become worthy of the eternal happiness of your kingdom. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

O Blessed Tongue (by St. Bonaventure, 1263)

O blessed tongue, you who have always praised the Lord and made others praise Him, now it is clearly evident how much merit you have before the Lord!

Invocation

(by St. Bonaventure)

Remember, O dear St. Anthony, that you have always helped and consoled whoever had recourse in you in his necessities.

Encouraged by the great confidence and by the certainty of not praying in vain, I too turn to you, who are so rich in merits before the Lord. Do not refuse my prayer but grant that, through your intercession, it will reach the throne of God.

Come to my aid in my present distress and necessity, and obtain for me the grace that I ardently implore, if it is for the good of my soul. Bless my work and keep sicknesses and dangers of soul and body far from my family. Grant that in time of suffering and trial I may remain strong in faith and in the love of God. Amen.

Prayer for the family

Dear St. Anthony, we turn to you to ask your protection for our family. Called by God, you left your house to consecrate your life to good works for your neighbour, and have come to the aid of countless families, even with wondrous deeds, to bring peace and serenity everywhere.

Our dear patron, intervene in our favour: obtain for us health of body and spirit from God, grant that we may share in a true communion which will enable us to open ourselves to love for our neighbour; grant that our family be, like the Holy Family of Nazareth, a small house of God and that every family in the world may become a shrine to life and love. Amen.

Prayer for the Protection of Children

O Saint Anthony, we turn to you to place that which we hold most precious and dear under your protection: our children.

While you were immersed in prayer, the Baby Jesus appeared to you. While you were leaving this world you were comforted by the vision of our Lord, and little children spread the news of your blessed death: look upon these children who we place in your care; help them to grow, as Jesus grew, in age, knowledge and grace.

Help them to preserve their innocence and their simplicity of heart; grant that they may always have the attentive affection and wise guidance of their parents. Watch over them that as they grow in years they may reach full maturity and, as Christians, be examples of perfect faith.

O Saint Anthony, our patron, be close to all children and comfort us too with your continuous protection. Amen.

Pilgrim's prayer at the Tomb of St. Anthony

Dear St. Anthony, look kindly upon me as I stand at your blessed tomb.

In my many needs, I have come here to pray to you, confident that in your compassionate goodness you will answer me. Present my petition to God. Through your intercession, may He grant my particular request...

My faith is weak; yours was firm and constant. Through your preaching you brought to life the faith of others; strengthen my commitment to the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ. Make me a faithful member of His people now so that I may praise the Father later in heaven.

Glorious St. Anthony, come to my aid; protect me from all spiritual and bodily harm, and encourage me in my moments of trial and suffering. Bless my family and work. Be generous and kind toward your petitioners at your tomb and to those scattered throughout the world. Amen.

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Christian prayers


Sign of the Cross - In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory Be to the Father- Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Our Father - Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary - Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Hail, Holy Queen - Mother of Mercy, Hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, show onto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Prayer to our Guardian Angel
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom his love commits me here,
Ever this day (or night) be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide.
Amen.

Eternal rest - Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.

An act of Faith - O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; I believe that your Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because you have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.

Act of Hope - O my God, relying on your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of your grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

Act of Love- O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.

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