Finding faith and lost articles in Goa through St Anthony

On the feast day of St Anthony of Padua, Goans reaffirm their faith in him and his miraculous powers
MOST FAVOURITE SAINT: St Anthony is one of the most loved saint at the procession.
MOST FAVOURITE SAINT: St Anthony is one of the most loved saint at the procession.Photo: Rohan Fernandes

As legends in Goa have it, ‘on the day of St Anthony’s feast, it always rains’. It may be true, for in Goa, it does rain on June 13, the day that Goans celebrate the feast of St Anthony of Padua, a saint that a large number of locals have faith in.

From Instagram and Whatsapp, one is flooded with greetings and wishes on the feast day, while outside, the festivities are on a high, from going for novenas to evening prayer services.

MOST FAVOURITE SAINT: St Anthony is one of the most loved saint at the procession.
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Talking to GT Digital, the faithful tell of their faith in St Anthony and how praying to him, a lot of favours have been granted. The saint is also particularly known to be 'a finder of lost things', and this faith has moved mountains.

When designer Kim Pereira was waiting at the Margao station, last night, to board her train to Mumbai, she noticed a mother, aunt and grandmother frantically searching for their child, who had gone missing.

“I saw them looking for the kid, and I frantically started praying to St Anthony. And, less than a minute later, I saw the kid in the mother's arm. That is faith and that is the power of prayer,” says Kim.

MOST FAVOURITE SAINT: St Anthony is one of the most loved saint at the procession.
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The unity among Goan Catholics and Hindus has always been believed to be strong, and that is prevalent during festivities and celebrations.

Among the staunch devotees is Sagar Naik, who says, “I grew up in a Catholic community, where every June, my friends would attend the novenas to St Anthony, and over a period of time, I also believe that if I lose anything, St Anthony will bring it to me.”

PRAY FOR LOST ITEMS: Devotees pray to St Anthony,  patron for the restoring of things lost or stolen.
PRAY FOR LOST ITEMS: Devotees pray to St Anthony, patron for the restoring of things lost or stolen.

Among the devotees is Vasco-based Sharlet Furtado, who had been told by doctors that her new-born son wouldn’t survive.

Sharlet says, “He was kept in the incubator, and was on antibiotics from birth. When the doctor disclosed this to my mother, she immediately went to the church and called the priest to the hospital to baptise him.”

She adds, “My mother did not know what to name my son, since I was admitted in another hospital. Since my son was born on September 13, she decided to name him Anthony. His survival is a miracle according to doctors, and my faith in St Anthony has grown stronger.”

MOST FAVOURITE SAINT: St Anthony is one of the most loved saint at the procession.
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And finally, such is the devotion to St Anthony that many people even queue up to carry his statue during the Procession of Saints in Goa Velha.

Thomas Mendes, from Goa Velha, who takes the initiative of dressing up the 31 saints for the annual Santachem Pursav (Procession of Saints) says, that there are a lot of people who keep their opmus near the statue of St Anthony to signify that they want to carry the statue during the annual Lenten procession.

“St Anthony is the most-loved saint in the procession. A lot of people come days in advance to keep their opmus near the saint to carry it,” says Mendes of the popular saint.

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