Benefactors paced slowly down the walkway leading to St. Anthony’s Shrine, their eyes trained downwards.

They gazed at and searched for memorial bricks at the shrine, and cries of “Here it is!” and “I found out!” were clear and distinct. It was the scene at Graymoor on Thursday morning, before Minister General Father Brian Terry, SA, blessed the bricks as part of Benefactor Appreciation Day.

With Father Emil Tomaskovic, SA, assisting, Father Brian sprinkled holy water on each of the three paths of bricks, as well as the area in front of the altar at St. Anthony’s Shrine.

Before reading a prayer, Father Brian praised St. Anthony, the patron saint of loss and recovery. Known as the wonder worker and a Doctor of the Church, Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA, and the Society of the Atonement have always held St. Anthony in high regard.

“We always remember that we are in the presence of a loving God. He sends us wonderful people like St. Anthony, who are milestones in history,” Father Brian said. “Anthony is still with us now. He is still interceding for us. For us, as a community, he’s been our big brother. We celebrate this day, we bless these bricks and we remember how they are ways we are remembered, and we remember.”

The blessing was part of the Friars’ Benefactor Appreciation Day, which also included a celebration of Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel and an afternoon luncheon.

Graymoor last hosted a Benefactor Appreciation Day on April 28. The Friars also hosted Benefactors Appreciation events on May 17 in Long Island; on June 1 in Haverford, Pennsylvania; and June 2 in Sterling, Virginia. 

There will be another Benefactor Appreciation Day on Thursday, September 8 at Graymoor.