Hundreds are expected to visit Armagh as the relics of St Anthony are brought to the city later today (Thursday).
Excitement is building among followers of the Saint – whose Feast Day is celebrated on February 15 – with special services planned at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
The relics of St Anthony – one of the earliest members of the Franciscan Order – will arrive at the Cathedral at 4pm.
It is part of a tour of Ireland and the relics are being accompanied in Ireland by Fr Mario Conte. He is the editor of the Messenger of St Anthony, the magazine published by the Conventual Franciscan Friars of St Anthony’s Basilica in Padua, Italy, where Saint Anthony’s tomb is located.
The visit to Armagh concludes a week-long tour to Ireland, which began in Tipperary and coincides with the anniversary of the death of St Anthony of Padua on June 13, 1231.
The relics will be welcomed to St Patrick’s Cathedral at 4pm, with Evening Prayer at 5.30pm, Mass at 7.30pm and Night Prayer at 10pm. Special Masses also take place tomorrow (Friday) morning, at 8am and 10am, with the Rosary recited at noon before the relics depart the city at 1pm.
Throughout Masses, the relics will be exposed and, at the end of each, those attending the Cathedral will be invited to approach them and receive a special blessing.The visit means there will be no Mass in St Malachy’s Church at 7.30pm tonight (Thursday) and 8am on Friday morning.