This Novena to St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, written by Fr. Robert B. Kosek, CRSP, and Sr. Rorivic P. Israel, ASP , is nine days of prayer focused on spiritual growth. The novena draws heavily on the epistles of Saint Paul, which is appropriate, considering the life story of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria.
Born of noble parents in Cremona, Italy, in 1502, Antonio Maria Zaccaria took a vow of chastity at a young age. A student of philosophy who studied medicine and even practiced as a doctor for three years, Saint Anthony was nonetheless attracted to the priesthood, and he was ordained in near-record time—after only one year of study. (His earlier training in philosophy had already prepared him well for the priesthood.) In the first years of his priesthood, Saint Anthony put his medical training to good use, working in hospitals and poorhouses, which in the 16th century were all run by the Church.
While serving as spiritual advisor to a countess in Milan, Saint Anthony founded three religious orders, all devoted to the teachings of Saint Paul: the Clerics Regular of St. Paul (also known as the Barnabites), the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, and the Laity of St. Paul (better known in the United States as the Oblates of St. Paul). All three were dedicated to reform in the Church, and Saint Anthony became known as a doctor of souls as well as of bodies. He also encouraged devotion to the Eucharist (indeed, he helped to popularize the 40 Hours Devotion) and to Christ on the Cross, both themes that appear in this novena. (You can learn more about St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria's thought and work in the Writings of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, hosted by the Barnabites.)
Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria died on July 5, 1539, at the age of 36. Though his body was found to be incorrupt 27 years after his death, it would take over three-and-a-half centuries before he was beatified (in 1890) and canonized (in 1897) by Pope Leo XIII.
Instructions for Praying the Novena to St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria
Everything you need to pray the Novena to St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria can be found in the following pages. Begin, as always, with the Sign of the Cross, then proceed to the next page, where you will find the opening prayer for each day of the novena. After praying the opening prayer, simply click on the link for the appropriate day of the novena, and follow the instructions on that page. End each day's prayers with the closing prayer for the novena and, of course, the Sign of the Cross. (For a shorter form of the novena, you can pray the closing prayer by itself for nine days.)
If you plan on praying the Novena to St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, you can sign up for a daily reminder e-mail. Each day, starting on the day you sign up, you will receive an e-mail with links to the prayers and meditations for that day.