St. Patrick: the Irish saint who wasn’t Irish
Patrick is known as the Apostle of Ireland. As a teenaged boy, he was captured and taken from Britain to Ireland as a slave, but he was later rescued and returned home in a ship, just as he had seen in a vision from God. Improbably, while enjoying his freedom in Britain, Patrick heard an Irish voice say to him in a dream: “Come back and walk once more among us.” So he returned and became known not only as a faithful prayer warrior but as a fierce fighter for justice and freedom for the liberation of slaves in Ireland. “His faith was not just a matter of inner piety, but a justice-loving ethic that longed to see all of Ireland – including the soldiers – transformed by the beauty, freedom, and love of Christ.” (Lectio 365, 3-17-23).
Collect for Saint Patrick
The Feast of Saint Patrick honors this venerated bishop/missionary who walked the green hills of Ireland in the fifth century. It is celebrated as both a liturgical and nonliturgical holiday on March 17 and has become a celebration of Ireland itself.
Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Holy Women, Holy Men, p. 273).
Irish music to feed the soul
Let the marvelous music of Celtic Thunder transport you to the Emerald Isle, where the spirit of St. Patrick is alive and well.
And this rendition of “Danny Boy” by Paul Byrom evokes the incredible poignancy of an Irish father saying goodbye to his son before he emigrates to seek a better life.