Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday of Holy Week-St. Patrick's Day

For the first time that I can recall in my lifetime, the Feast of St. Patrick falls during Holy Week. This is a rather fitting coincidence considering that Patrick first confronted the pagan druids in Ireland by lighting the Easter fire and defying druid custom on the 26th of March in the Year of Our Lord 433-Easter Sunday. This was the day Patrick planted the seed whereby the Holy Faith would be spread throughout Ireland, and then from the Irish to much of the rest of the Western World.

Much like Paul-who was sent to Macedonia through visions, Patrick was confronted by visions which entreated him to return to Ireland and convert the people there to the Faith. This was after he had been captured as a youngster by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. After years of captivity, he escaped and would later return to Ireland as priest and Bishop. His missionary zeal served (and continues to serve) as inspiration for succeeding generations of the Church to spread the Good News of Christ at all costs.

Patrick would survive to see virtually the entire Irish nation converted to Christ within his lifetime. Many did not believe it was possible, but Patrick understood that all things were possible with God. Many people simply see today as a day to wear green and celebrate Irishness at some level-and it is that. It should be remembered, however, that what we celebrate is not merely Ireland, the Irish, or the strong Celtic heritage or tradition in Tennessee or much of our country. We celebrate not merely Irishness, but Christian Irishness-the conversion of the Irish people (the people to which many of our ancestors belonged) to the Gospel of Christ.

Patrick was sent to the portals of Glory on March 17th, 493 at Saul (Subhall) in what is now County Down in Ulster. His name, legend, and influence would spread far beyond the land to which he was commissioned to preach.





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At Monday, March 17, 2008 4:09:00 PM, Blogger Fritz said...

"They" moved St. Patrick's Day to March 15th to avoid a feast day falling in Holy Week.

At Monday, March 17, 2008 4:49:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Just a note-St. Patrick's Day is not a solemnity outside of Ireland, so the feast day was not moved. Within Ireland, the Holy Day of Obligation was, I believe, moved to Saturday, but the holiday is still celebrated today.


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