Parishioners throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will have a chance to see and venerate the relics of St. Anthony of Padua, touring Southern California for the first time April 14-21 on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the recognition of the saint’s body parts.The parts are small, but visible when viewed through the gold-plated 12-inch long reliquary. One relic is a few layers of skin from the saint’s cheek and the other more delicate relic is his floating rib, or a rib that is attached to the spine. The tour starts April 14 with a Eucharistic celebration at Good Shepherd Parish in San Diego, followed by an April 15 Eucharistic celebration and veneration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, presided by Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar.From April 16-21, the relics will be on display at St. Peter’s Italian Church (Los Angeles), St. Barbara Parish (Santa Barbara), American Martyrs Parish (Manhattan Beach), St. Francis Korean Catholic Church (Torrance), Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (Hermosa Beach), and St. Anthony of Padua Church (Gardena).Popularly known as the Saint of Miracles, St. Anthony, who joined the Franciscan religious order in 1220, is revered by millions for his intercession in finding lost things and for helping those who are lost, in what is described as the “Antonian phenomena.”“It’s still strange how centuries after his death he still has a big impact on people,” said Franciscan Father Mario Conte, a friar from the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, who will be the “companion” of the saint’s relics throughout Southern California.He said that although the relics are “just a fossilized rib and a layer of skin” from the saint’s body, “at the same time they are something concrete that we can see and touch, a link of love” between the devotees and the saint. “When we pass by and touch St. Anthony’s relic, it’s neither a magical act nor a superstition, far from it; it is an act of love,” Father Conte told The Tidings.The saint is recognized for the Baby Jesus he holds on his arms — a sign of tenderness and freely-given love — a book, representing the Word of God, and a lily he holds on one of his hands, which represents purity and transparency of life.St. Anthony died in 1231 and, making history, he was canonized 11 months later. His remains were interred at the Church of Sancta Maria Mater Domini in Padua and transferred in 1263 to the then newly-built adjacent Basilica of St. Anthony.During a special ceremony where his coffin was opened, to the surprise of those present, including St. Bonaventure — then the Minister General of the Franciscan Friars Minor — the saint’s vocal organs were found intact.His tongue was still red and soft, to which St. Bonaventure exclaimed in awe, “Oh blessed tongue that ever praised the Lord and led others to praise Him! Now it is clear how great are your merits before God!” In life, Saint Anthony was praised for his preaching. Since then, the Franciscan Friars celebrate the “Feast of St. Anthony’s Tongue” recalling the event that took place 32 years after the saint’s death.Over the centuries, the Basilica’s Chapel of Relics has been the official site where the relics remain on display, where they are visited by about five million people year-round and “we go to some parts of the world to give people who can’t come to visit the chance to meet him,” said Father Conte.After California, the relics will visit Chicago, Milwaukee, Toronto, Montreal, London, and Ireland.For more information about the St. Anthony relics, visit or call the Anthonian Association, (347) 738-4306.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0412/relics/{/gallery}