Dear Friends in Christ,
The wonderful son of Poland, Saint John Paul II once said, “Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it.” This weekend, the Church celebrates Saint Patrick’s Feast Day. I say this with intention. A day, that at times, is hijacked for enormous partying is truly a blessed day. The pastor of my first assignment as a priest was with a priest who came to our diocese from County Mayo. I asked him what frivolity his family had on Saint Patrick’s Day. He told me, “WE WENT TO MASS.” They would then have a family dinner and pray the Holy Rosary after the meal. Maybe, the men would go off for a pint in the local pub later in the evening. It was a day of deep faith. So many people claim Irish heritage and one should be proud of what the Irish Catholics did for the world. The Irish missionaries were unmatched in preaching, teaching and living the faith in our country and throughout Africa, let alone other places in the world. Saint Patrick was a tough, zealous Catholic bishop who, with the help of some other great saints, converted Ireland to the true faith. I love the entire Breastplate of Saint Patrick which is well worth investigating for spiritual enrichment. The following is the famous and very beautiful section of the prayer from this great saint:
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.
Saint Patrick protect us, pray for us! Bless the faithful of Ireland, convert that land once again and watch over those whose bleed green in our midst. I was told that you know you were raised by Irish parents when at every crisis, small or great, you invoke “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” May this be a prayer and not mere words of frustration.
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!