My name is Anthony.
Right off the bat I want tell you that I am excited to have this Catholic Kids 101 page because I want to tell as many people as I can that I really love Jesus! I hope my page will help you to really love Jesus too!
I didn’t have to think very long about what I would talk about on my page. I am going to tell you about the most amazing Saint! He is the great Saint Anthony!
Saint Anthony of Padua
I was named after him. Lots of people in my family are named after him. My dad is named Anthony, my grandpa is named Anthony and my great grandpa is named Anthony. My great grandpa is 98 years old. (He says he is “98 years young!”) He lives in the same house that he lived in almost his entire life. His house is about 3 blocks from where I live with my family in Louisiana. He lives right across from the Church. Can you guess the name of it? If you guessed Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church, you are right!
Everything I learned about St. Anthony of Padua I learned from my great grandpa. I call my great grandpa “Grandpa Great.”
My "Grandpa Great" with his friends from St. Anthony's Catholic Church
I told Grandpa Great all about my Catholic Kids 101 page. I told him I was to tell everyone that I love Jesus and that I would talk about St. Anthony. Grandpa Great got as excited as I was about it! He said that I could use him as a “sounding board.” A “sounding board” is someone you can run ideas by and get advice from. I knew Grandpa Great would be the perfect “sounding board.”
I worked on my page at Grandpa Great’s house every day after school for about 2 weeks. This is what I (with Grandpa Great as my “sounding board”) want to tell you!
Saint Anthony was a Franciscan priest. That means he was a priest in the religious family (called an “order”) that Saint Francis of Assisi started in Italy. Anthony actually knew Francis. They lived at the same time. That was about 800 years ago!
Anthony was really smart and he was an AMAZING preacher! He went all around Italy and France preaching to the people about JESUS. He was best known for his sermons against “heresy.” Heresy is a teaching or belief that goes AGAINST what is true about Jesus and what His Church teaches. Anthony was so good at preaching about what WAS true about Jesus and what His Church teaches that people started calling Anthony: “The Hammer of Heretics!” Anthony would smash the untrue words with his true words so people could understand who Jesus REALLY is and what His Church really teaches.
"The Hammer of Heretics"
One time he had a chance to preach for the Pope at that time, Pope Gregory IX. The Pope was so moved by what Anthony said about Jesus that he called Anthony the “Ark of the Covenant.” (Grandpa Great explained that means Anthony knew the Bible really well.)
During one season of Lent (remember Lent lasts 40 days leading up to Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday) Anthony decided to preach every day in the city of Padua in Italy. When people found out that Anthony was preaching, tens of thousands of people came to Padua to hear him!
Anthony spoke the most beautiful words about Jesus! Grandpa Great told me that there is a story about Anthony that we don’t know for sure if it’s true (but he thinks it very well could be) that when Anthony died, a beautiful white lily came out of his mouth! He said that was because Anthony’s words were so pure, good and holy, especially when He preached about Jesus and His Church, that God could very well have done that little miracle. He said that we do know as a fact that over 30 years after Anthony died, his coffin was opened and his body had decomposed (it was now just bones) EXCEPT for one part of him: his tongue! Anthony’s tongue looked like it did as if he were still alive! Grandpa Great said that it was God’s way of saying: “Hey everyone! Pay attention to my humble servant Anthony. I want you to listen and follow what he said about Me!” By the way, Grandpa Great visited St. Anthony’s Church in Padua, Italy and he actually saw Saint Anthony’s 800 year old tongue!
Grandpa Great said I should always ask St. Anthony to help me with my tongue, meaning my words, so I will always use my tongue correctly. I must use it only to tell the truth and never to tell lies. I must always talk about Jesus and holy things with great love and respect. I must never say dirty words or repeat impure stories or jokes. I must never gossip or talk about the faults and sins of people I know to others. (If I’m not sure about that last one, I can ask him or dad and mom for guidance.) Grandpa Great said if I do this then my tongue will always look like a lily to Jesus!
Jesus did many miracles through Anthony. The day Anthony died the blind people in the town could suddenly see, the lame could walk, the deaf could hear, and the sick got better! Jesus was working these miracles to show His love & power and to point out how pleased He was with His holy servant, Anthony. Today He still works miracles and answers many prayers through St. Anthony’s intercession!
"The Vision of Saint Anthony of Padua" by Murillo, 1656
Ever since I was a little boy Grandpa Great has read me stories about Saint Anthony from his huge library of books. Grandpa Great really liked my idea of picking one of the amazing stories about St. Anthony from my favorite book and writing it out for you to read.
At first I was going to pick the story about how Anthony helped save his father from unjustly going to prison for a crime he didn’t commit by asking Jesus to raise from the dead the man who could prove that Anthony’s father was innocent! Jesus heard Anthony’s prayer, the dead man came alive again and spoke, then Anthony’s father was declared innocent!
However, I decided to write out my all time favorite story about St. Anthony. I think you will love it as much as I do. It goes like this:
"Have you ever heard of Saint Anthony of Padua? He lived in the very early years of the 13th century in the country of Italy. He was a wonderful priest who would move people to tears of joy with his beautiful words about Jesus. Anthony would travel from town to town and stop in the village square to preach to the people. He would tell them about the great love of God. He would tell the people that there was nothing greater than receiving Jesus in Holy Communion.
One late afternoon, in a dusty town square, while Anthony was preaching to the townspeople about Jesus truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, a young man broke through the crowd and ran up to the priest. “I don’t believe you!” he cried. “Jesus is NOT present in the little white Host!”
“Yes, He is,” answered Anthony. “When a Catholic priest speaks the words of consecration during Holy Mass, 'This is My Body' and 'This is My Blood,’ the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the greatest miracle of love for absolutely nothing is impossible with God!”
The man began to laugh. “That is ridiculous!” he cried.
Anthony looked at the man with great love and said, “But, my friend, it is absolutely true.”
The man stopped laughing and snapped, “Then prove it, Priest!”
“All right,” replied Anthony. “How shall I prove it to you?”
The man stood very still and thought long and hard. Suddenly he turned and ran through the very large crowd that had gathered. A few moments later the crowd parted as the young man led a small donkey to the feet of Anthony.
“I challenge you, Priest!” cried the man. “I will starve this beast for 3 days. I will give it no water or food of any kind. In 3 days we will meet again at this very spot at this same time. At one of the ends of the square you will stand with your piece of bread that you call ‘Jesus.’ At the other end I shall stand with a fresh pail of my donkey’s favorite food. We shall then place the animal in the middle. If the beast comes to me, you will leave our town and never again speak to us about this nonsense of Jesus Christ in the little white Host.”
“And if the animal comes to me first?” asked Anthony.
“Then,” said the man, “I will believe.”
“Very well,” said Anthony. “I shall see you here again in 3 days.”
So for 3 days the man starved his donkey and for 3 days Anthony fasted and prayed. During the afternoon of the 3rd day, Anthony offered Holy Mass. When he finished, he placed a consecrated Host in a monstrance and reverently made his way to the town square.
A huge crowd of people had gathered to watch what would happen. They saw Anthony at one end of the square holding the monstrance that contained Jesus in the Host. On the other end of the square they saw the young man with a large pail of very delicious smelling food. The starving donkey was led to the middle.
It was then that Anthony cried out in a loud voice, “Creature of God! In the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, I command you, in His Name, to come and adore your Creator! Let all who witness this miracle today and all those who will hear of it in years and centuries to come, know that our Lord Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the little white consecrated Host!”
Then the starving donkey, ignoring the delicious smelling aroma coming from the food in the pail his master was holding, immediately turned towards Anthony and began to walk to him. When the donkey reached Anthony holding Jesus in the monstrance, the creature bent his boney knees and knelt, bowing down his head in a gesture of adoration.
The crowd was stunned to silence! The young man dropped the pail of food and then dropped to his knees. He began to weep and strike his breast crying, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me for I am a sinner!” Then he raised his arms towards Anthony holding the Blessed Sacrament and cried, “Jesus! I believe! My Lord and my God!”
Then the great, vast crowd of people fell to their knees with cries of praise and adoration for a great miracle had happened in their town! God had visited His people!
To this very day there is a shrine in Italy that marks the spot where the faithful priest of God, Saint Anthony “the Wonder Worker,” brought our Lord Jesus Christ, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, to the people. There all creatures, including a four legged one, knelt and adored their God!"
St. Anthony of Padua,
Pray for us to love Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament just like you!
From your Catholic Kids 101 friend,