Posts Tagged ‘St. Anthony. Padua’


It was a brutally humid summer night on Long Island.

To stay cool, we sat outside with my next-door neighbors, the D’Angelos. You know what they say, “Misery loves company.”

Oddly enough, I don’t remember it being miserable.  Maybe it’s because we didn’t realized that we were supposed to be.

That’s because none of us on the block owned air conditioners — except the Cornelias, my next-door neighbors to the north, which is probably why they weren’t outside that evening.

Our small houses sat on small 75′ x 100′ plots of land. So, we were all a close knit group. “Back in the day” beating the heat together outdoors was just the norm.

That night, the boys drank soda as our dads drank beers and our moms chit-chatted, as we all sat around a picnic table that none of us could fit around today, and ignored our bodies as they dripped with sweat.

I will never forgot what happened next.

A mammoth, threadbare brown moth flew into the light and started fluttering around the table.

Not monumental, right?

However, what happened after the moth flew in changed my life forever.

Mrs. D’Angelo raised her right hand to his forehead, then touched her chest with the same hand, followed by touching his left and right shoulders, making the sign of the cross.

“Amen,” this devout and loving woman added to the end of her silent prayer. Filled with joy, she turned to me and catechize, “Every time you see a brown moth, it’s St. Anthony coming to visit. So, I say a prayer.”

The Saint she was referring to was St. Anthony of Padua, the Patron of Lost Things and contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi.

I laughed — and also remember being somewhat disrespectful. To her credit, she returned my offense with only love. When I look back on that day, I can’t help but becoming a bit saddened by the way I misbehaved.

A few years after, my father would become sick and have less than six months to live.

My mom accompanied my dad on his extended stays in a New York City hospital for cancer treatment.

During those periods away, my brother and I stayed with our neighbors. Often, it was with the D’Angelos, where we ate dinner together; broke bread together; prayed together.

I think back on how difficult it must’ve been for Mr. D’Angelos to stay positive during dinner as my brother and I must’ve been a constant reminder that he was on the verge of losing one of his best friends.

But then again, he was also a man of Faith.

Mr. D’Angelo and my father were an Odd Couple of sorts. My dad was a white collar salesman for General Electric. He was a blue collar typesetter for a major New York newspaper. He loved the Yankees. My dad, though a Mets fan by default, bled Dodger Blue. (Brooklyn Dodger Blue)

However, they were bound by their commute home on the LIRR, their love for baseball, of family and of beer — the cheaper the better, it appeared. But above all, they shared a common love, their Faith.

Eventually, my father passed away — and the D’Angelos where with us, standing in the landing, when my mother hung up the phone and shared the sad news.

My View - Corporation YOU

Today, I live far from where I grew up. My home has a view that I never could’ve dreamed of when I lived in my Long Island hometown.

The summer evenings are drier, cooler and much more quieter here.

Time-to-time, when the humidity rises above normal, I grab a beer, then go sit outside on my deck, put my feet up, and watch night fall.

Every now and then, I turn off all the outside lights, except one as I reflect on that brutally humid night on Long Island, and wait….

I wait for a moth to appear.

Not just any moth. I look for a threadbare moth, one cloaked in brown.

Its arrival always gives me great comfort as it reminds me that we are surrounded by heavenly angels and the communion of saints, where my dad now resides.

As the moth begins to circle the light, I make the sign of the cross and offer a silent devotion to St. Anthony of Padua.

I ask St. Anthony to pray for my family; to pray for my boys. I also ask the Patron Saint of Lost Things to pray for The Lost.  Finally, I give thanks as I ask St. Anthony to pray for my neighbors on North Kings Avenue in my hometown, Lindenhurst, New York.

Oh yeah, like Mrs. D’Angelo, I also teach my boys to do the same.


James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.


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