The relics of Saint Anthony have arrived in Derry at a special Ceremony of Welcome staged at St Eugene’s Cathedral this afternoon.
Local clergy joined Franciscan Brothers from Padua in Italy, who accompanied the relics to Ireland.
Among those in attendance were Bishop of Derry Dr Seamus Hegarty and Fr Aidan Mullan, as well as Father Mario Conte, editor of the Messenger of Saint Anthony- the magazine published by the Conventual Franciscan Friars of St Anthony’s Basilica in Padua.
The relics were welcomed to Derry at the Cathedral Vestibule by Rev Paul Farren, Administrator at St Eugene’s Cathedral, before proceeding to the Altar where the relics- a cheekbone and a rib bone of the Saint were connected to a gold-coloured half statue of St Anthony.
Fr Farren said: “We welcome you St Anthony into our midst.
“Often we have sought your assistance. We have called upon you to present our needs to God. We have cried out to you for help to find what we have lost. Your relic is a sign of your presence among us.
“We want your visit to St Eugene’s Cathedral to be an opportunity for us to express our gratitude to God and to you, as well as to come to know you better.”
A rendition of ‘Sweet Heart of Jesus’ was then sang by the hundred who had packed into the Cathedral before the Ceremony of Welcome service began shortly after 12pm.
Derry is one of only six places across Ireland here the relics are being taken during the visit to Ireland.
Local people will be able to visit the relics during Veneration for the rest of today until 7.15pm At 7.30pm there will be Mass, followed by more public Veneration until 10pm.
Tomorrow (Thursday) there will be Mass at 8am followed by Veneration of the Relics again, concluding with the Ceremony of Farewell at 11am.