Saint Anthony’s Bread

In some Franciscan churches or in parishes with particular devotion to Saint Anthony, on his feast day (June 13) the custom is celebrated of blessing loaves of bread, which are then distributed among the faithful and eaten.

Such devotion certainly derives from the initiative of the "bread of the poor" that in the past was very strong and widespread in churches. Even today the organisations of "Caritas Antoniana" (St. Anthony’s Charities) and the '"Pane dei Poveri" (Bread for the Poor) are located near the Basilica. These two associations help the needy in different ways.

The articulate organisation of charity, which issues spiritually from the Basilica, depends on the generosity of pilgrims or devotees who, through the "Messenger of St. Anthony” magazine, donate to the poor. What they accomplish is the continuation of gratitude to the Saint, who is always so generous with advice and help. This charity is brought out by the moving episode of the miracle of Tommasino and that of his young mother who, once she had obtained the healing of her child Tommasino through the intercession of the Saint, decided to offer to the Basilica her baby’s weight in bread, to be redistributed to other mothers in need.