True Power is Service

True Power is Service

When preaching on March 19 at his installation as bishop of Rome, Pope Francis applied these words to the ministry of St. Joseph and, by extension, to his own new ministry. He had earlier recalled the need to respect and protect all creation, as Francis of Assisi did.

Anthony of Padua certainly reflected the power-as-service leadership model that Jesus demonstrated when he washed the feet of the apostles at the Last Supper. Pope Francis has shown such leadership in several ways. For example, on Holy Thursday he washed the feet of 12 young women and men at a juvenile detention facility in Rome. When Anthony was proclaimed a doctor of the Church in 1946. Pope Pius XII gave him the title “Doctor of the Gospel.” Anthony had extensive knowledge about the entire Bible and was always ready to show its application to his listeners’ lives.

Anthony’s openness to the needs of the Church and of society made him willing to exercise new ministries as those needs changed. He was a servant leader as a teacher, a preacher, the head of the friars in northern Italy, and a writer of sermon notes to aid other preachers. Anthony was not afraid to point out to the citizens of Padua during Lent 1231 that imprisoning debtors should stop.

Anthony urged his contemporaries—and he urges all of us—to live as servant leaders. His feast is June 13.

This post is from the “Dear Reader” column of St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, go here.

Photo: zatletic/PhotoXPress


About the Author

Pat McCloskey, O.F.M., is the Franciscan editor of St. Anthony Messenger. He also serves as the editor of Franciscan Media's popular Weekday Homily Helps.
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    Saint Anthony of Padua is a favorite saint of my husband Bill, who was a daily communicant at Saint Anthony Shrine in Downtown Boston. Several years ago I bought a statue of Saint Anthony as a father’s day gift for Bill, and it is positioned in in the backyard where we can see him from our dining table. Yesterday, daughter Martha with her husband Richard and two year old Abigail Rose visited and Richard installed our window air conditioners for us. Abigail wanted to look out the kitchen window before he filled it with the appliance, so I got out a little stool for her to stand on and she eye-balled the yard from that perspective. She let us know “Nana has Jesus in the backyard!” (of course it was Saint Anthony, who is depicted carrying the child Jesus). Good for Abigail Rose, and thank you to Saint Anthony for your intercession in answer to our prayers and novenas for help through the years. My cousin Eunice used to start her prayers to Saint Anthony as follows: “Dear Tony, with all due respect—“.