Next Wednesday we celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick. We are encouraged in a special way on this day to reflect on his life and his contributions to the Catholic faith and to Irish culture. It is a special day for many of our priests who were born in Ireland and who faithfully serve the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Saint 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 about 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. He often made use of a shamrock, a three-leaf clover, 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. The Association for Catechetical Ministry stated that Saint Patrick “strongly favored monasteries and small groups of consecrated women (convents came later) which afterward became a hallmark of Irish Catholicism.” Saint Patrick joins Saint Brigid as one of the patron saints of Ireland.
The following “St. Patrick’s Prayer” provided by the media outlet “Irish Central” reflects the spiritual focus of this great saint:
May the strength of God pilot us.
May the power of God preserve us.
May the wisdom of God instruct us.
May the hand of God protect us.
May the way of God direct us.
May the shield of God defend us.
May the host of God guard us
Against the snares of the evil ones,
Against the temptations of the world.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us!
Christ be over all!
May thy salvation, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.
Saint Patrick stated, as noted in “The Confession of St. Patrick”, “May it never befall me to be separated by my God from his people whom he has won in this remote land. I pray God that he gives me perseverance and that he will deign that I should be a faithful witness for his sake right up to the time of my passing.”
As we celebrate this day, and as we reflect on these profound sentiments, we are challenged to reaffirm our commitment to embracing a call to sacrifice and discipleship in the spirit of Saint Patrick as we continue on our Lenten journey of faith.