S. California: relic of St. Anthony of Padua stolen – UPDATE!

A reader alerted me to this:

St. Anthony’s stolen religious relic sparks searches
By Mike Krumboltz

A 780-year-old treasure honoring St. Anthony of Padua has been stolen from a Southern California Catholic church.

The relic, which is normally kept under lock and key, was brought out by the Rev. Jose Magana because he thought it might help his parishioners regain their faith during the difficult economic climate. In a bit of bitter irony, St. Anthony is known as the patron saint of lost things. Following news of the theft, web searches on “st. anthony stolen” and “who was st. anthony” both surged.

The relic was taken at some point on Monday, “the feast day of the church’s namesake.” According to a buzzy article from the AP, the relic was likely stolen at some point between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. When the parishioners realized the relic had been taken, there was an audible gasp in the church.

A police lieutenant said “the relic is housed in a 16-inch reliquary case with angel-shaped handles made of gold and silver on either side.” The reverend called the relic invaluable,” according to the AP.


Could I ask a prayer from the readership for the recovery of this relic?

UPDATE 17 June:

I thank a reader for alerting me to the news item at Catholic Culture:

Police in Long Beach, California, have arrested Maria Solis, 41, in conjunction with the theft of a relic of St. Anthony of Padua from a parish on June 13. The relic was discovered undamaged in her living room and has been returned to the parish; the suspect is not a parishioner.

“St. Anthony is the patron saint of travelers and lost things, but today he’s also the honorary saint of the Long Beach Police Department,” said Father Jose Magana, pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish.

I wasn’t aware that police department’s have patron saints, but it is a very good idea.

Let there be sung Non nobis and Te Deum.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Philangelus says:

    St. Anthony’s an Italian. He’ll be on the job already. ;-)

    Criminal#1: Dude, help me find my car keys.
    Criminal#2: I can’t! My glasses are gone!
    Criminal#1: They were right there next to your wallet!
    Criminal#2: No, my wallet isn’t where I left it!
    Criminal#1: Wait a minute, where’s my belt?

    And so on. Because as the finder of lost things, he’ll know what lost things vex us the most. ;-)

  2. MarkJ says:

    St. Anthony Church in Long Beach is my “home Church” – it’s where I became Catholic in 1986. And St. Anthony has ALWAYS come through in helping me and my family find lost things. Just yesterday my daughter dropped her Miraculous Medal (from the Chapel at Rue du Bac in Paris) inside Space Mountain at Disneyland, only to have it “reappear” at her feet at a restaurant hours later… my wife had been praying to St. Anthony since the medal was lost. I will join in the prayers to St. Anthony that his relic be returned to this parish, and that their Faith may be strengthened through this experience.

  3. James Joseph says:



    (Italian American here whose great-uncles started the St. Anthony Parade in the North End of Boston)

    This is not nitpicking but without spiting Padua and the Franciscan habit, poor St. Anthony is Portuguese. His real name is Fr. Fernando de Bulhões, an Augustinian priest from Coimbra.

    As a side note: I recently was able to see a picture of his with him wearing vestments for the holy Mass. That really made my day. Stuff like this really grinds the gears of Italian American Episcopalian Free-Masons, on their 3rd “marriage”, who are members of the St. Anthony Society and the Knights of Columbus.


  4. Mike says:

    JamesJoseph–I will as a kid going to those Parades in the North End! What memories! What great Italian food!

    I’ve prayed to St. Michael for the safe return of this precious relic.

  5. APX says:


    Funny you mention that. It was at St. Anthony Parish in Calgary, AB, where I found my Catholic faith after it was lost for over a decade.

    I’ll join in the prayers to St. Anthony too.

  6. pvmkmyer says:

    Can you pray to St. Anthony to find himself????

  7. pvmkmyer: Can you pray to St. Anthony to find himself?

    It worked in Italy some years back, when his relics were stolen from his shrine in Padua.

  8. Philangelus says:

    JamesJoseph, thanks for clearing that up. But as an Italian myself, I have to say that anyone who’s lived in Italy or has even a drop of Italian blood is Italian. It can’t really be diluted. ;-)

    I did pray for the safe return of the relic in today’s rosary intentions.

  9. AnAmericanMother says:

    St Anthony hopefully will deal with these thieves as he dealt with the thief who stole his Psalter . . . .
    I have a special devotion to St. Anthony. Saw the movie of his life in his honor on his feast day — not very historical but very well done and affecting.
    If he weren’t a saint he’d have a full time job looking for stuff I lose.
    Will pray for the safe return of his relics in my Rosary today.

  10. trespinos says:

    Local California news reports mentioned that a lady who had shown an unusual amount of interest in the relic was the first “person of interest” in the investigation. If she indeed is the culprit, may she come clean quickly. If she is innocent and only a devotee of the Saint, may she be quickly freed from suspicion.

  11. Alice says:

    “Tony, Tony, come around
    Something’s lost and can’t be found.”

  12. benedetta says:

    I thought that St. Anthony was from Portugal. But like St. Patrick represents Ireland, St. Anthony speaks for Italy for sure…

    I hope the relic is recovered to the church. I sometimes wonder when something consecrated is stolen or taken by force that the person(s) who do that are in extreme need of it, though unaware. Even when something consecrated is not treated with human respect, it does not entirely negate the power it has?

  13. Let’s not forget that St. Anthony got his reputation for finding the lost from the time a thief stole a book from him. The thief ended up turning around and giving it back to him with apologies.

    So let’s keep praying for the relic’s return and for conversion of heart for the thief.

  14. Ygnacia says:

    Here is a thoughtful reflection on the theft of the St. Anthony relics, Fr. Z’s blog is mentioned:


  15. dans0622 says:

    They found the relic, thanks be to God.

  16. wanda says:

    Thanks be to God for the return of the relics.
    I’m not sure about other saints, but St. Michael the Archangel is known as the patron saint of policeman.

  17. I asked St. Anthony to find himself too! I am tickled that he led authorities to himself.

    The year my brother was dying, and we all knew he was dying, he and St. Anthony were best of friends. And, if a person can be totally in “holy” love with a saint, my mother fits that bill. So many times she would tell non-catholics about this lovely saint when they’d lost something. They would just look at her funny, and she would ask them to just petition the saint for his help and he would help them. I don’t recall any one of these folks being let down. Just that simple request and being led to whatever was lost made believers out of them.

  18. pseudomodo says:

    We regularly call on St. Anthony for help because we are regularly losing things!

    Last year we went to a yard sale and found a type of ‘niche’ (for a religious statue) at this sale. The seller said we could just have it for free!

    We went to a local garden centre and found a statue. It was marked as St. Francis and ‘identified’ by another person as St. Joseph, but it was St. ANTHONY! When we got it home I looked up his feast day and lo and behold that day WAS his feast day!

  19. Stvsmith2009 says:

    Regarding the update for June 17: “I wasn’t aware that police department’s have patron saints, but it is a very good idea.”

    I don’t know about police departments but Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Sebastian are the patron saints of police officers.

  20. Jane says:

    This is one of my personal stories about St. Anthony. I have several.

    The missing music CD
    I had a treasured five CD collection of music by a famous Australian singing group. One of the CDs of the collection was missing and no amount of searching could find it. I had checked the CD cases several times and it was not in any of them. After a week I checked the CD cases once more, in order to find out which one of the five CDs was missing. Armed with this knowledge I went outside to say the Miraculous Responsory of Saint Anthony. About half an hour later I had another look in all the CD cases and to my astonishment it was there! I quizzed the family and none of them had put it there.

    Here is one from a friend.

    The wedding ring at the beach
    When Stephen was at the beach surfing, his wedding ring slid off his finger and was washed away by a wave. He called upon Saint Anthony and another wave came in and deposited the ring at his feet.

    From my book: Help from Heaven (Answers to Prayer) which can be read free online at the following locations.
    Part one:
    Part two

    The online book covers many saints and devotions. There are lots of St. Anthony stories in it.

  21. I’m trying to picture Kenneth Branagh trudging up Olive Avenue with the relic up over his shoulder, Father….

  22. michelelyl says:

    I attended St. Anthony’s Day Nursery when I was in pre-school and Kindergarten; glad they recovered the relic! (that was in 1963-1965)

  23. Laura R. says:

    Deo gratias!

  24. Geoffrey says:

    “I thought that St. Anthony was from Portugal. But like St. Patrick represents Ireland, St. Anthony speaks for Italy for sure…”

    Saint Antony was born in Lisbon, Portugal and died in Padua, Italy. Among Portuguese-speaking Roman Catholics, he is proudly known as “Saint Antony of Lisbon (Santo Antonio de Lisboa)”, even in liturgical books. Everywhere else, he is known as “Saint Antony of Padua”. :-)

  25. Norah says:

    Here is another saint story. My daughter was very upset because she had to submit an assignment and the computer was playing up. Knowing that St Isadore of Seville was the patron saint of the Internet I told her to pray to him. As soon as she finished the prayer the computer started working. I looked St Isadore up on Google and discovered that his feastday is 4th April – my daughter’s birthday.

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