Dear Companion of St. Anthony:
Peace and all good. Here we are six months into this year already. As the saying goes, “time marches on.” In that vein I am reminded that today is the Memorial of St. Junipero Serra, a great missionary in the western part of the US. I have visited some of the churches that he founded along the west coast, in Carmel, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara. I have a medal of St. Junipero that says on the reverse “Always go forward, never go back.” This is the message of a true missionary. St Junipero Serra forged the faith in the western United States with a firm conviction that God was with him.
Our own St. Anthony wanted to be such a missionary. After he left the Augustinians and joined the Franciscans, he, too, wanted to be a missionary. He joined the friars after seeing our first Franciscan martyrs as their bodies were returned to Portugal after their death in Morocco. We know that because of his ill health, St. Anthony’s desire to be a missionary was not accomplished. God certainly writes straight with crooked lines! Even though he was not to be aa foreign missionary, St. Anthony was no less diminished in his capability to bring back to the faith many who had veered from the path of believing. St. Anthony is certainly known as the patron of lost things – primarily because he brought back to the Catholic faith many who had previously been lost. Each evening we friars pray for the intentions of our Companions and those individuals and families who come to the Shrine seeking the answer to their petitions – no matter what that intention might be. St. Anthony, pray for us.
Many thanks for your continued thoughtfulness and support of the Companions of St. Anthony.
In Christ and St. Anthony,
Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv.
Spiritual Guardian, Companions of St. Anthony
Director and Rector of the Shrine of St. Anthony