Brooklyn Students Get Hands-On Lesson about Saint Anthony

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Dyker Heights, Faith, Queens, NY, Relics, Saint Anthony of Padua, St. Ephrem’s Catholic Academy

by Katie Vasquez

This was the first time Paige Winters has ever touched a relic.

“I thought it was very cool. And you like how old it was, and. and it’s an artifact. I think that’s really cool,” said Winters, an 8th grade student at St Ephrem Catholic Academy. 

She, along with her fellow classmates at St Ephrem Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, has been studying the saints, learning about popular figures like St Anthony of Padua.

At this mass, where two first-class relics of the saint are right in front of them, the lessons take on a whole new meaning. 

“This was overall my favorite mass of the entire year. I think it was very interesting learning about all this stuff and getting to touch the rib of Saint Anthony,” said 6th grade student at St Ephrem Catholic Academy, Antonios Ashkar. 

The first class relics include a piece of St Anthony’s skin and his floating rib. 

They traveled from Padua, where the 12th century franciscan friar served, to the Dyker Heights church, as part of a tour traveling around New York and New Jersey.

St Ephrem’s saw it as a chance to give their students a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

 “It gives them an exposure to our Catholic tradition and our identity so that they will understand what our tradition is,” said St Ephrem Church pastor, Father Robert Adamo. 

“Not only learning about our saints and about our religion within our books, within the bible, but bringing it to life and being able to bring it to life by bringing the relics of saint anthony of padua showed that,” said St Ephrem Catholic Academy principal, Michael Phillips. 

On top of being able to venerate the relics, students also received blessed bread, a reminder of the saint’s kindness to the poor. 

But while they’re gaining a new appreciation for the patron saint of lost things,

Father Mario Conte, who brought the relic to St Ephrem’s, says they can also find so much more from this experience. 

“We have to think about the things that we don’t even realize we have lost. First of all, faith, our faith is the most important thing. And nowadays faith has been lost for many, for many people. Indeed,” said Father Mario Conte, a friar with the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua.