Every day, friends from all over the country send the Companions of St. Anthony prayer petitions in handwritten letters, reply cards from our mailings, emails, Facebook messages, and voicemails. Praying to St. Anthony for his intercession with our Lord on behalf of our friends and benefactors has been a central ministry of the Companions since it began over 25 years ago. The Franciscan Friars Conventual of the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, Maryland, their brother Franciscans around the country and the world, and their lay prayer partners hold up these many petitions before God in many ways throughout the year.
When prayer petitions are mailed in to us, either on personal stationery or on reply forms from our mailings, they are read by our staff who pray for them immediately. Our lay Prayer Partners will often write an encouraging note to someone, reminding them that God loves them and that the Friars are praying for them; other times they send a Mass card to someone grieving the loss of a loved one; sometimes they even call on the phone so that someone in dire need will hear the sound of a caring voice.
The lay Prayer Partners coordinate with the Friars for further prayer and pastoral outreach for many petitions. Petitions are placed in a basket outside the private chapel of the Friars at the Shrine of St. Anthony, and the Friars take a petition into prayer each time they enter the chapel. Though the Friars of the Shrine personally pray for Companions petitions every day, in some cases, when a priest is needed immediately, a Friar will reach out to him or her. Lastly, some petitions are sent to Friars around the country who continue to pray for these intentions during their personal times of prayer.
On the third Saturday of each month, the lay Prayer Partners gather to pray for the many intentions that come in. Following Mass at the Shrine, the Prayer Partners retire to a private room to pray. This prayer takes many forms: some read petitions as they pray in their own words while others pray the Rosary while reading petitions, and some write notes, also. In whichever form it takes, the petitions of our Companions are lifted up by their fellow lay Companions before our Lord.
Prayer petitions are present at many liturgies throughout the years, also. Every Tuesday, petitions from the prior week are taken in a basket to sit before the altar at the Shrine of St. Anthony for Mass and the Tuesday Novena to St. Anthony. These same petitions are taken back to the Shrine on Thursdays and placed before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration. At the end of each month, the names of all benefactors to the Franciscans that month are placed in a basket before the relic of St. Anthony and are present at all Masses and liturgies for the following month. In this way, the intercession of St. Anthony is continued for an additional 30 days.
A special aspect of prayer at the Shrine is the lighting of candles in our chapel. Pilgrims come every day to seek St. Anthony’s intercession at Mass and in private devotion before his relics. Many will end their pilgrimage by lighting a candle for their intentions. For all of the requests to light candles that are mailed in from around the country, the Friars of the Shrine light them throughout the week.
Lastly, Mass is said multiple times throughout the week for the intentions of the Companions of St. Anthony. A daily Mass for the Companions’ intentions is said at the Shrine of St. Anthony and the Provincial House of the Our Lady of the Angels Province, the leadership headquarters for the Friars located in Ellicott City on the same land as the Shrine. A weekly Mass for the intentions of the Companions is also said at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy and at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua.
As you can see, the intentions that our Companions send in to us are prayed over many, many times throughout the day, week, month, and year. It is a special blessing the Friars have to be entrusted with these needs, and it is their great privilege to have the opportunity to speak to God, through St. Anthony, on behalf of so many.
|• Novena to St. Anthony every Tuesday of the year|
|• August 11||Feast of St. Clare|
|• August 15||Feast of the Assumption/St. Anthony Birthday|
|• September 18||Feast of St. Joseph Cupertino|
|• October 4||Feast of St. Francis|
|• Oct. 24 – Nov. 1||All Souls Novena|
|• December 16-24||Christmas Novena|
|• December 25||Christmas Mass|
|• Nine days before Ash Wednesday||Lent Novena|
|• Nine days before Easter Sunday||Easter Novena|
|• Nine days before June 13||St. Anthony Novena|
|• Daily Mass at the Shrine of St. Anthony|
|• Daily Mass at the Porciuncula Friary, Provincial House|
|• Weekly Mass at the Tomb of St. Francis, Assisi, Italy|
|• Weekly Mass at the Tomb of St. Anthony, Padua, Italy|
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