This week we celebrate St Anthony’s Feast Day …

The problem with many preachers in Anthony’s day was that their lifestyle contrasted sharply with that of the poor people to whom they preached. In our experience, it could be compared to an evangelist arriving in a slum driving a Mercedes, delivering a homily from his car and speeding off to a vacation resort.

Anthony saw that words were obviously not enough. He had to show gospel poverty. People wanted more than self-disciplined, even penitent, priests. They wanted genuineness of gospel living. And in Anthony they found it. They were moved by who he was, more than what he said.

Anthony travelled tirelessly in both northern Italy and southern France (perhaps making as many as 400 trips) choosing to enter the cities where unbelievers were strongest. Yet the sermons he has left behind rarely show him taking direct issue with those he met. Anthony preferred to present the grandeur of Christianity in positive ways. It was no good to prove people wrong: Anthony wanted to win them to the right, the healthiness of real sorrow and conversion, the wonder of reconciliation with a loving Father.

Reflection by Leonard Foley FSM in

We pray for all those in our school community

that we might seek to live out the example

that St Anthony of Padua is to us all.

The fire of God’s truth burnt brightly in his heart,

flowing over into the passion of his preaching

and the love with which he met all people,

particularly the poor and dispirited.

May the same fire burn in our school community

in this special time,

and throughout everything we do

as a school community blessed by his name.