Looking at the glass half empty- the Grotto of St. Anthony

Published 7:37 pm Thursday, February 25, 2010

To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Edward B. Chapmans opinion, the glass is half empty, and I see it has half full with a vision. I refer to the St. Anthony Grotto on the Pacolet, which can be seen from Harmon Field across the river. The land was cleared at Christmas time, and the project had to have a beginning.

Yes, it is not a garden now, but neither is any landscaping project when just getting started.&bsp; When I heard about the grotto, I was looking forward to seeing it take shape.

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There is just no way to get it done without clearing the hillside first.

From the website, www.stanthonygrotto.org I learned about the plans.

The Garden will have attractive rocks, stones, shrubs and the footpaths, which can already be seen. It is inspired from the&bsp; Grotto Gardens outside of Jerusalem, that lead to the house of Caiaphas and Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives as they exist today.

Plantings in the Spring will begin to shape the garden into a living landscape of fruit trees, nut trees, white daylilies, fig trees, blueberry bushes, boxwoods, evergreens, and native species, all surrounding the Grotto, with the statue of St. Anthony of Padua at its center. The landscaping will surely be planned out in such a way as to complement the beauty of the area, and knowing the individual who owns the land, misuse and damage to the Pacolet River would be a major concern, and protection planned. &bsp;

What was stated as a shameful destruction was clearly said out of lack of knowledge of what is planned for the Garden. One only had to investigate, and get answers, as I did. As to the reference to Catholic doctrine, another statement made out of obvious bias or ignorance. Sincere Christians know the truth there, and we thank God we were given the gift of forgiveness.

Mr. Chapman thinks we are paving a road to hell, scared by greed with the construction of this blemish for a long dead Saint. St. Anthony of Padua, Italy, a Franciscan Monk, lived in servitude to God and, joining the monastery at the age of 15 and with an excellent mind devoted his time to study and prayer. Known to be gifted in his abilities to comprehend scripture during his time, he was urged by the Church to use his abilities as a theological scholar to preach after an occasion forced him from his silent prayerful life at the age of 25.

All were struck by his eloquence and profound doctrine and was urged to continue a public life until his early death at age 36. He suffered ill health much of his life. The high acclaim of St. Anthony is celebrated worldwide since his death in 1231.

Each year in August, since 1919, Boston has a feast held in his honor. In Italy the tradition goes back to 1688.&bsp; In Brazil he is known as the marriage Saint, and June 12 is their Valentines Day in his honor, and a popular wedding day.

In Beaumont, Texas a Cathedral was built in his name, and was consecrated as a Basilica on its 100th birthday, in 2007.

A Spanish mission founded in the 17th century is now known as the city of San Antonio, named after him. The list goes on and on. Honor for a great man, a great servant of God. Yes, he is dead, there are many thousands dead, and among them many honored with statues for them also, or in photographs on our walls.

This Grotto will have historical significance, and will be a beautiful place for all believers to come and in prayerful contemplation, find peace and reflection.

Janet Sciacca