St. Anthony’s Bread

I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.
-John 6:35
Today, friar Jaime Zaragoza, OFM Conv., continues the tradition of feeding the hungry started by friar Jim Fields, OFM Conv. and the friars over 40 years ago.

Dear Friends,

Saint Anthony of Padua is renowned for finding what has been lost, lost items, or even lost souls.   And yet, he has another claim to fame. Do you remember the tradition of Saint Anthony’s Bread?

Many are the legends of how this pious tradition began. But in the distant 13th century, in Italy, good women and men drew a connection between beseeching Saint Anthony’s help and offering Saint Anthony a gift – a gift of bread.

While seeking Saint Anthony’s intercession, they also desired to “repay” Saint Anthony symbolically by sharing their own bread with those needier, hungrier, poorer than themselves.

All through the year, we, Franciscans, are sought out by countless of our sisters and brothers in Christ. They know where to turn when food is scarce, when one warm meal is their hope for the day, and kindness and hospitality would be additional blessings.

Today, I ask you to honor Saint Anthony by providing bread – Saint Anthony’s Bread – to those who look to us, the Conventual Franciscan Friars of The Province of Our Lady of Consolation.

For over 40 years, our Franciscan Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky, shared daily bread and warm meals with hundreds of families, children, and elderly in dire need.

The Franciscan Kitchen was founded in 1981 by friar Jim Fields, OFM Conv., who served in the US Navy Seabees on Okinawa during World War II. He never forgot seeing frightened and homeless people digging frantically through the garbage of the military outpost. That image both haunted and compelled him to feed the poor.

Saint Anthony’s Bread is a staple of Franciscan ministry. At Saint Benedict in Terre Haute, Indiana, we have established a Food Pantry to provide bread, canned goods, and other food items to families in need.

At the Ysleta Mission, which is dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, Conventual Franciscan Friars have served for over 30 years. Members of the Tigua Native American Community beg for alms for the poor prior to the Feast of Saint Anthony in June. Their outreach serves immigrants and those waiting for asylum hearings near the Texas border. The alien, the stranger, the immigrant are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

As we begin the Year of Our Lord, 2022, join with the Franciscans in providing bread and consolation to those in great need. Hunger never takes a break. Please give generously.