Patrick

March 17, 2022

I woke early this morning with the “ding” of my phone letting me know I had received a text message.  I paid no attention and tried to go back to sleep, but five minutes later received the follow-up “ding” letting me know I had ignored the first one.  This was the start of a lively back and forth conversation (and dings) between my sibs concerning the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  Today’s chat was a continuation of last night when my brother-in-law (part Irish) sent a reminder that we needed to celebrate Patrick.  I would like to blame him for my early rise, but apparently Melissa had finally gotten around to looking at the feed and started this morning’s conservation.  Since I was constantly being dinged anyway, I decided to get up. 

When I looked online, I found Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and Bishop in Ireland.  Patrick died before the formal canonization of saints began in the 12th century.  He instead became a saint by popular acclaim, probably with the approval of a bishop.  Much of what is known about Patrick comes from the Declaration, which he allegedly wrote.  It is believed he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family.  His father was a deacon, and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church.  He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland.  Patrick spent six years working as a shepherd, and it was during this time he found God.  God told Patrick to flee to the coast where a ship was waiting to take him home.  Patrick became a priest after making his way home.  Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity, and spent his remaining years evangelizing in the northern half of Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s Day is held on March 17th, the traditional date Patrick died (c. 385 – c. 461), to honor Ireland’s patron saint.  The day was made an official Christian feast in the early 17th century and is observed by many liturgical Christian denominations.  The day commemorates Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish heritage and culture.  Celebrations involve parades, festivals, social gatherings with traditional Irish or Scottish music, dancing, and storytelling (called céilís), and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.  Christians attend church services, and as a feast day the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, encouraging, and propagating the day’s tradition of alcohol consumption.

THOUGHTS:  Patrick’s efforts toward conversion turned into an allegory in which he drove “snakes” out of Ireland, even though snakes were not known to inhabit Ireland.  Patrick became a saint as the “people’s choice” rather than canonization.  Over the following centuries, legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland’s foremost saint.  The hold of Patrick and his celebration still seems to exist today.  What other day would tempt you to pinch your mother and drink green beer?  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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