St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria had a special devotion to the Crucified Christ, also to our Eucharistic Lord.
He founded the group called the Clerks Regular of St. Paul (also known as Barnabites), an order dedicated to working for the renewal of the clergy and laity. He was a preacher who worked to reform the Church and died at the age of 37.
St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. At 22, Anthony finished his studies in Padua earning a medical doctorate. However he chose the priesthood, receiving Holy Orders in 1528,. Anthony worked with the poor and the sick. Living at the time of Martin Luther, he focused on building up the Body of Christ and make gentle reforms among the priest and laity.
In doing so, he founded of the Clerks Regular of St. Paul, also known as the Barnabites, and named after the Apostle Paul. Through his order, St. Anthony promoted a reformation program involving the combined strengths and experiences of Priests — The Clerics Regular of St. Paul, Uncloistered nuns — The Angelics of St. Paul, and Married people — The Marrieds of St. Paul (laity). Though the Laity of St. Paul diminished after St. Anthony’s death, it continued quietly until the order experienced growth again in the 1990s.
St. Anthony was particularly special devoted to the Eucharist and Christ Crucified. According to the Barnabite’s website ,
To promote devotion to Christ Crucified Anthony Mary instituted the practice of the tolling of church bells at 3 p.m. every Friday in remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross.
He also advised people to make the cross of Christ the object of constant meditation, reflecting often on “the book that records the sweet memory of the cross of Christ ” (Letter XI ).
Anthony Mary promoted devotion to the Eucharistic Christ in the form of the Forty Hours devotion, public and solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by turn in various city churches, which he first celebrated in Milan in 1537. He also promoted frequent Holy Communion.
Hard work and voluntary penance, wore out St. Anthony, who died at age 37, after catching a fever while on a mission to Guastalla, Italy. His body was found incorrupt 27 years after his death in 1539; however, due to changes in the canonization process, his solemn canonization was delayed until 1897 when Pope Leo XIII canonized him in St. Peter’s in Rome. He is often depicted wearing the black cassock of the order and holding a lily, cross, chalice and/or host.