Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Growing up in Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal – the Chicago River is dyed green, there is a huge parade, and of course, people do a lot of “celebrating.” While I grew up recognizing the cultural holiday, as a seminary student I learned about, and began to celebrate the religious aspects of this holiday.
Who is St. Patrick? Here is Barb’s abridged version: In the fifth century a young Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and transported to Ireland. There he spent his days tending sheep and fighting off wild animals. He called to God, aching for his home and family. After six years in captivity, he heard the Holy Spirit urging him to make an escape from the Iris tribe and a druid priest.
He made his way back home to England. Once home, he became a priest, and then a Bishop but soon made a stunning announcement: he would return to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick led the way in converting the island to the Gospel.
WOW! What a story of perseverance, faith, discernment, wisdom, dedication, and hope. As we celebrate this saint today, may this prayer, attributed to St. Patrick, inspire us: 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 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.