St. Patrick's Day

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Location: All Parishes

St. Patrick is the primary patron saint of Ireland. In about 432, Pope Celestine I consecrated him as a bishop and sent him to Ireland. For nearly 30 years, he preached tirelessly, made countless converts, founded monasteries and established the primatial see at Armagh in modern-day northern Ireland. Stories that Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity and drove snakes from the island are unconfirmed legend. He describes his life and ministry, including his work to convert the Irish people, in his short autobiography and testimony, "Confessions."

"Surprisingly, given the popularity and influence of the day, many revelers know little about St. Patrick the man. They might be surprised to learn that he never drank green beer (not even a Guinness), never ate corned beef and cabbage, never drove snakes out of Ireland and had no leprechaun friends. The majority of St. Patrick’s Day customs, myths and fables have been perpetuated and instituted over a period of 16 centuries.

"Stripping away the widespread secular activities, we discover a holy person — a saint — who spent more than 30 years successfully proclaiming the Gospel message, the gift of faith to the people of Ireland. Prayerfully recalling and recognizing his life as God’s chosen missionary is how to uncover the true spirit of St. Patrick," explained D.D. Emmons in Simply Catholic. Read this article to learn more.

"History testifies that Patrick’s efforts began a chain of events that not only led to the Christianization of Ireland but to the influx of Irish missionaries into mainland Europe, where they made an immense contribution to the project of civilization," wrote Father Billy Swan, of the Diocese of Ferns, Ireland, for Word on Fire. "These Irish missionaries preached and taught that faith in the Trinity expressed itself in social harmony, the truth of Christ, and love for God’s people.

"This was the legacy of these Irish men and women of courage, and it originated with Patrick, their father in faith. Over the centuries, thousands of Irish people brought their Christian faith with them around the world as they left their homeland in search of a better life. For this reason, St. Patrick is celebrated not just by the Irish but by churches around the world, who thank God for the gift of faith received by their Irish ancestors, who brought the faith to other cultures and peoples after the example of Patrick himself."

Prayer of St. Patrick

Christ with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.