ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) -- The Franciscan friars at the St. Joseph Cupertino Friary hope a relic of St. Anthony will quietly transform their 200-acre center into the biggest pilgrimage site this side of the Atlantic.
Though Catholic institutions across the United States claim to have relics of saints, the one held at the friary is particularly valuable, said the Rev. Martin Cobos, development director for the Province of St. Anthony of Padua.
This relic of the 13th century monk in Padua, Italy, comes with impeccable records of authenticity, Cobos said. The relic was a gift from Franciscans in Padua, where tens of thousands of pilgrims go each year to see Anthony's relics.
The friars believe the relic brings believers close to the saint and helps heal the sick and give hope to the hopeless. Anthony is also the patron saint of lost things such as wallets and car keys, and is thought to help people recover from more significant losses: health, housing, sobriety or self-respect.
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