Saturday, June 14, 2014
Procession of Sant'Antonio, Last Night
St Anthony of Padova was famous during his short life (he died at age 35) as a preacher, and since his canonization as the go-to spiritual guide for those looking to locate someone or something they've lost. He was also a Franciscan friar, which explains why his feast day is celebrated so elaborately at the church of San Francesco della Vigna, as well as the patron saint of fishermen and sailors (perhaps because of their risk of being lost at sea), which explains his standing in Venice.
Last night was the solemn procession of a wooden statue of the saint through the calli and campi around the church of San Francesco della Vigna, a distinctly left-leaning neighborhood in the northeast part of Castello that's one of my favorites in the city, both for its general tranquility and for the vitality of its particular meeting places. It remains, against great odds, a neighborhood, and as much as I enjoyed the singing and music and candles of the long line of participants in the procession, I also liked seeing those who watched it pass from their windows with lit candles on their sills, lending a domestic touch to the public demonstration, an intimate recognition of a ritual that belonged as much to the neighborhood as the church.