Pastor's Corner

2020 03-15 Saint Patrick …. a faithful witness to the Gospel as he embraced the mission and ministry of Christ. 

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Tuesday, March 17th.  It is a national holiday in Ireland and is generally recognized as an important day for people of Irish heritage.  St. Patrick joins Saint Brigid as one of the patron saints of Ireland.  St. Patrick was a priest and later became a bishop in the fifth century.  As a youth, he lived in Britain, was kidnapped and taken to Ireland where he lived as a servant.   After six years, he escaped and went back to Britain.  He later returned to Ireland as a missionary and taught the people about the Christian God, and prepared many of them for baptism and entrance into the Catholic Church.  St. Patrick is traditionally associated with the shamrock, a three-leaf clover.  He made use of it to teach about the Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  He worked tirelessly in his ministry and won a very special place in the hearts of the Irish people.

As reported in the publication Stubhill News, Pope Francis urged Catholics to avoid the commercialism usually associated with St. Patrick’s Day.  He stated, “It is very tempting to be distracted by all the beer and decadent green clothes.  Parades full of glamour.  But those who partake in these activities forget the real meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.”   St. Patrick focused on people, not parades.  He focused on eternal rewards and was responsible for many people choosing to embrace the Catholic faith.

As we reflect on the life and example of St. Patrick, we are reminded that we have many adults and children who are considering embracing the Catholic faith through their involvement in our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and our Rite of Christian Initiation for Children programs.  Through their participation in these programs, many of them will receive the sacraments of Baptism, First Eucharist, and/or Confirmation at our Easter Vigil Mass.  Please keep them, their sponsors, and their instructors in your prayers.

The following extract is taken from the prayer, “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”, which is a powerful prayer composed by Saint Patrick asking for the Lord’s guidance:

I RISE TODAY

THROUGH A MIGHTY STRENGTH,

THE INVOCATION OF THE TRINITY,

THROUGH BELIEF IN THE THREENESS,

THROUGH CONFESSION OF THE ONENESS,

OF THE CREATOR OF CREATION.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that Saint Patrick prayed for perseverance to be a faithful witness to the Gospel as he embraced the mission and ministry of Christ.  May we strive to be faithful witnesses to the Gospel as we wait to celebrate the Easter Resurrection of Jesus.

 

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