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Bangladesh Catholic Church marks the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua

Devotees pray before the statue of St. Anthony of Padua at Mohipara Parish in Bangladesh on June 13, 2022. (Photo: Supplied)

Bangladesh’s most popular Catholic pilgrimage was held at the feast of Saint Anthony de Padua at Mohipara Parish in the northern part of Bangladesh on June 13. 

The feast of the miraculous Portuguese Saint Anthony is famous among all the Christians in Bangladesh. 

St. Anthony of Padua is fabled as a miraculous saint in Bangladesh and every year thousands of pilgrims flock to the shrine during the annual feast. 

People from all faith backgrounds in Bangladesh attend the feast. Novena prayers, candle lighting, Mass, and other forms of giving honor to St. Anthony are held from June 4 ahead of the pilgrimage.

It is an ancient church tradition in martyrdom to show devotion, respect, and reverence to the saints. The main purpose is to gain God's favor by praying through them. The saints always help believers. They bring people grace from God. That is why Christians have immense faith, honor, and devotion towards them and the church celebrates saints' feast day.

Celebrating the feast Mass, Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, said, “Many of us have come to take vows and fulfill our vows during Antony's pilgrimage. Saint Anthony did amazing things when he was alive and still does.” 

“He has been given the power to do wonders. Why? Because when Jesus saw that Saint Anthony had a lot of devotion and respect and lived a holy life, Jesus began to use him. But not for himself but for others so that others may understand that divine power is still effective in man,” he said. 

One of the ethnic devotees Sila Soren said, “Anthony is the most popular and beloved saint in my life. I like his spiritual life and humility.”

Many times, she prays for different intentions through Saint Anthony and she got many blessings through him. So, she attends the pilgrimage festival here every year, Soren said.

Cornelius Biswas, another St. Anthony devotee said, “Every year, wife, children and I joint this feast day because we received special blessing through St. Anthony in our family.” 

“Every day evening after our Rosary prayer, we pray through St. Anthony for his blessing,” he added. 

Saint Antony of Padua was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born on August 15, 1195, and raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal. He died in Padua, Italy on June 13, 1231. Pope Gregory IX canonized him on May 30, 1232, at Spoleto, Italy. 

This year, 20 priests, 2 deacons, some seminarians, 25 nuns from different congregations, and about 2,000 Christians attended the pilgrimage. 

At the end of the Mass, devotees lined up to pay their respects and reverence to the statue of Saint Anthony. - Nikhil Gomes  


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