Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Saint Anthony of Padua, Pray For Us!

Buona Festa di Sant’Antonio di Padova!

My Dad was Walter Anthony Janaro, as is my brother. Dad seemed more drawn to Anthony as his patron saint. No one in the family could ever remember how a German name like “Walter” made its way down to Naples and the Neapolitan Janaro family (though it was also my paternal grandfather’s name, and perhaps had precedents before that). There is a “Saint Walter” around in European history (at least one), but the Janaros don’t know much about him except that he was from somewhere north of the Alps.

I suspect the name “Walter” has long history with our clan, dating back to the days when Italy was “just” a peninsula that saw many diverse ethnicities on its shores, who came as pilgrims to see of Rome and—at various times—rulers after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

On the other hand, “Antonio” needs no explanation as an Italian name. For 800 years, this early Franciscan saint has been known and loved by the Italian peoples of every region on the peninsula where he preached and served for most of his life in the 13th century (though Antonio himself came from Coimbra in Portugal).

His feast day is June 13.