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DEAR friends, receiving good news is a rare thing these days when the press, radio and television seem to compete in overwhelming us by highlighting really discouraging facts. Not only are there tragedies that ravage the planet: terrorism, wars, environmental disasters, famine, but also those that all too often plague some families.

I’m sure you have wondered why we are always getting distressing news; is it possible that nothing good ever happens? I once posed this question to a famous journalist who, with a certain sarcasm, told me, “The reason is, dear little friar, that bad news sells more copies of the newspaper and glues more viewers to the TV. Have you ever heard that ancient African proverb, A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest?

On the other hand, the Gospels also tells us that out of the ten lepers miraculously cured, only one returned to Jesus to tell him the good news of his healing; the other nine kept it to themselves. Nothing is new under the sun, you’ll tell me.

Anyway, today I received a good piece of news. Mrs. Laura gave it to me this afternoon just after I had finished celebrating Holy Mass. She has three young children, and over the past few months, they had been getting sick one after the other, over and over again, and she – in her own words – “did not know which Saint to turn to anymore.” Then a neighbor, to infuse some hope in her, gave her a copy of the Messenger of Saint Anthony he had just finished reading. While turning the pages of the magazine, she noticed the website of the Basilica of Saint Anthony, where she found several videos. One of these YouTube videos particularly struck her.  It was entitled: Freshly Baked Bread (see: https://youtu.be/IENPTscIkqg). The video tells the story of a little boy, Ricky, who had caught necrotizing pneumonia and was healed by St. Anthony after his parents’ poignant prayers. “Here is the Saint I must turn to,” thought Laura, and kneeling at the foot of her bed, she invoked the Saint with great faith, “Dear Saint Anthony, please make my children well. I promise that I will bring them to you in Padua.”

And the children were healed, which is why Laura had joined me in the sacristy at the end of the Mass. She wanted to thank me because Ricky’s story had convinced her to turn to the Saint of Miracles, and he had listened to her.

I know, Laura’s testimony is not an extraordinary story, the kind that occupies the pages of our newspapers and magazines. No editor would print it.  “This doesn’t make news,” they would say. Yet it is a beautiful and true story, simple and positive, a story that conveys a message of hope and perseverance, and that makes us understand once again, in case it were necessary, how much St. Anthony cares about sick people.

Dear friends, the commandment of love, which Jesus left to his disciples, and which St. Anthony lived every day of his life as a Franciscan, must also find a concrete realization in our relationship with sick people. St. Anthony, in fact, calls us to care for the most frail and suffering members of our society in a spirit of fraternal love, and he wants us to be people who not only hear the Good News, but proclaim it in how we treat others. 

If any of your loved ones or you yourself have health problems, on February 11, World Day of the Sick, at 6:00 p.m. (CET) join us friars of St. Anthony’s Basilica in Padua in the celebration of the Holy Mass streamed live on our website: www.saintanthonyofpadua.net. We will pray together to our dear Saint to intercede with the Father for all our sick loved ones. Peace and all Good!

Updated on February 03 2022