This is the most characteristic gesture that pilgrims perform in the Basilica of St. Anthony.
For his devotees, Anthony is a companion in daily life. He not only bestows graces and favours whenever one calls him in times of need. He is a big brother, a confidant who is always present and available whenever we are assailed by problems, be they big or small. Devotees ask him to help those who have lost their way, to console the suffering, to assist the poor and the forsaken.
As well as through personal prayer, devotion to Saint Anthony has manifested itself over the centuries in enduring ways, which we will briefly summarise.