History of the Shrine
“Mt. Airy” is the familiar name for the National Shrine of St. Anthony and Friary sitting on a hill above Cincinnati. The shrine had its start in the late 1880s, when Joseph and Elizabeth Nurre bought what was then a country estate for $18,000 and gave it to the Franciscan friars.
The cornerstone was laid and blessed in August, 1888. The friars moved into the original house two months later and a little more than a year later, on Thanksgiving Day 1889, Archbishop Henry Elder of Cincinnati consecrated the chapel. The building’s north wing was to house the novices and the south housed the professed friars.
Father Jerome Kilgenstein, Provincial Minister at the time, obtained furnishings for the chapel from France, Belgium, Bavaria, Holland and the Austrian province of Tyrol, the home of the early friars of the Cincinnati province. Originally the chapel had eight side altars. Over the high altar were two large paintings depicting scenes from the life of St. Anthony. The paintings were covered over when the chapel was redecorated in 1978.
A group of novices, who had been invested with the Franciscan habit at Holy Family Friary in Oldenburg, Indiana, came to Mt. Airy in the first week of 1890. The first investitures at Mt. Airy took place August 15, 1890—on the feast of the Assumption, which became a traditional date for many years.
Nearly a thousand young men formally entered the Order at Mt. Airy between 1890 and 1967, to spend one year laying the foundation for their lives as Franciscans. Not all of these novices ended up professing vows in the order: one purpose of the novitiate is to discern God’s call.
Today, the St Anthony Shrine and Friary is home to 11 friars and 5 men in the first stages of Franciscan life and spirituality known as formation.
Mt. Airy holds a special place in the hearts of friars and friends. Vocation decisions made by novices affected the course of the Cincinnati province. The Shrine remains a place of peace, hope and communion with God and nature. It has been an inspiration and channel of God’s grace for over a century. May it be the same for another century and beyond.
360 Degree Photography Tour
Catholic Mass and Devotions Schedule
St. Anthony Friary and Shrine
5000 Colerain Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45223
Regular Mass Times
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m.
Saturday 8:15 a.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m.
St. Anthony Novena
Tuesday 2:30 PM – Novena Prayers, Benediction, Blessing with the Relic of St. Anthony
Tuesday 7:00 PM – Mass, Followed by Novena Prayers and Blessing with the Relic of St. Anthony
Join us for the Solemn Novena in Honor of St. Anthony every Tuesday April 16 through June 11 culminating with his Feast Day on Thursday, June 13
Dates & Presiders for the Solemn Novena
April 16 – Fr. Jack Wintz, OFM
Author & Senior Editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine
April 23 – Fr. Daniel Kroger, OFM
CEO of Franciscan Media, LLC
April 30 – Fr. Fred Link, OFM
Pastor of St. Clement Parish
May 7 – Fr. Thomas Speier, OFM
Sacramental Minister at St. Monica-St. George Parish
May 14 – Fr. David Kohut, OFM
Sacramental Minister at All Saints Parish
May 21 – Fr. Hilarion Kistner, OFM
Scripture Scholar and Editor of Homily Helps
May 28 – Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM
Author and Franciscan Editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine
June 4 – Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM
Associate Postulant Director
June 11 – Fr. Joseph Ricchini, OFM
Spiritual Director and Counselor
The Feast of St. Anthony of Padua
Thursday, June 13, – Fr. John Bok, OFM
Co-Director of the Friar Works office
The St Anthony Shrine is open for daily prayer, mediation and quiet reflection. Visitors are welcome to attend daily or Sunday Catholic Mass or Tuesday afternoon Novena to St Anthony or Tuesday Novena Mass. There are no scheduled tours.
At the back of the chapel, the shrine features a first-class relic of St. Anthony. The relic is visible at the base of the St. Anthony statue. First-class relics are parts of the body or bones of a saint, while second-class relics are objects that were used by or associated with a saint (or somehow with the Lord). A third-class relic is a piece of cloth or something that has been touched to a first- or second-class relic.
The grounds surrounding the St. Anthony Shrine are a serene and peaceful place for a walk or quiet contemplation. There is a small outdoor shrine with statues of St. Anthony, St. Francis and Our Lady of Guadalupe, all of them surrounded by candles. The field next to the shrine includes an outdoor cross, and there are other Roman Catholic statues throughout the grounds. Visitors to the shrine are welcome to walk the grounds and enjoy their natural beauty.