I’m sitting in the family waiting room at the hospital. My 87 year-old dad is getting a pacemaker.   Dad is not your typical octogenarian.   The surgery had to be scheduled around a business trip.  Keeping active as a  consulting electrical engineer has kept him young.

My family has a custom of putting a St Anthony statue in front of a photograph of the family member who needs extra prayers.   My little St A is standing guard near Dad’s photo on my dresser at home.  I think my Italian grandmother must have learned this custom from her mother.   Grandma faithfully moved Anthony to watch over the family member in most need.  Anthony is the patron of lost things and lost people.  In my family, it’s pre-emptive.  He’s our go to saint for those we don’t want to lose.

I bought my small resin statue when I visited Coimbra, Portugal.  Anthony was born in Lisbon, but studied in Coimbra which was the capital of Portugal at the time.  His ministry led him to Italy.  He died in Padua in 1231.  My oldest sister has Grandma’s St Anthony which is made of plaster. His head bears the mark of my father’s infant teeth. Sis has Anthony on the job today, too.

Like lighting a candle or putting someone’s name on a prayer chain, this is a way to pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.