Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick: why a shamrock?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! The following are excerpts from an article from about St. Patrick:

"St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints...Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote
'The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.' 'I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.'

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him 'We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.'

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.
Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock?
Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

In His Footsteps:
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission."


At 2:17 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I climbed Croagh Patrick when I was in Ireland last year. St Patrick is supposed to have spent a forty day fast up there. The weather was shocking when I reached the top, so it had a real penitential feel to it!

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Kiwi, you're a better climber than I! I too climbed it last year with some friends, but we only went up halfway...that's a serious height to hike!

I went to Ireland with some friends in June- two of whom are priests - after I was ordained. We celebrated Mass at the base of the mountain - it was exquisite!!

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I was fresh from cycling in the Loire for five weeks though, plus oodles of walking in my several months of travelling. I would find it tougher now after six months back in the 'working world'.
I hate to tell you, but the walk got tougher still in the bit you missed. The top third gets really steep, plus the stones are difficult to find your footing on. The weather also closed in, and there was no view from the top. (In fact you couldn't even tell it was the top, but the chapel was there and people told me it was the top!) But it was a wonderful feeling to complete it, and a great memory to hold on to.

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

oooohhh I am jelious... I wanna go to Ireland and Germany and Italy... oh nevermind I just want to travel...

At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Was wondering said...

I just got back from Mass and noticed that the "Kyrie Eleison" and the "Hosanna in the Highest" hymn was done in Latin. Is this because of the Lenten season or is this something permanent?

At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deacon Mike's homily was beautiful last night. I'm not sure if I've ever heard him speak like that. I always am grateful when someone shares something personal about their lives with all of us. He must be a wonderul father to have raised such dutiful children, and I'm happy to hear that they all came back healthy and whole. I, too, have had similar thoughts about Fr Greg's youthfulness, but then he speaks and dispels all of that.

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Night Owl said...

Lord I trust you to find the right place for me. I will still follow St. Francis' way but I will leave the group in Your hands.


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