Apostle of Ireland, born at
Kilpatrick, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 493.
In his sixteenth year, Patrick was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and was sold as a slave to a chieftan named Milchu in Ireland, where for six years he tended his master’s flocks in the valley of the Braid and on the slopes of Slemish. He relates in his “Confessio” that during his captivity while tending the flocks he prayed many times in the
day: “the love of God”.
“and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent within me.”
The six years of Patrick’s captivity became a remote preparation for his future apostolate. He acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic tongue in which he would one day announce the glad tidings of Redemption, and, as his master Milchu was a druidical high priest, he became familiar with all the details of Druidism from whose bondage he was destined to liberate the Irish race.
He escaped captivity and after a perilous journey, returned to his homeland. While back in his homeland, Patrick decided to become a priest and then decided to return to Ireland after dreaming that the voices of the Irish people were calling him to convert them to Christianity.
St Patrick is surrounded by legends. One is that St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland. Some tales tell that he stood on a hill and used a wooden staff to drive the snakes into the sea and banished them forever from Ireland This legend is believed to portray how St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland and banished Paganism, which
uses snakes as symbols.
Another legend has it that St. Patrick would use the shamrock to explain the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The word “shamrock” comes from the Gaelic word “seamrog” (In irish, it means “summer plant”) meaning “trefoil” (three leafed) or “little clover”. In Arabia, it is called shamrakh. It was a sacred emblem in Iran and to the Persian triads.
It is also a sacred plant among the Druids. Shamrock is the national flower of Ireland. Many Irish people wear a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day. This explains the color green and shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day. irish tradition has it that if you do not wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, you get pinched !!
Patrick’s mission in Ireland is said to have lasted for thirty years. It is believe he died in the 5th century on March 17, which is the day St. Patrick’s Day is commemorated each year.
The first year St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in America in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts. The first official St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1766. As the saying goes, on this day “everybody is Irish!” Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick’s Day parades.
Prayer for the Faithful by Saint Patrick
May the Strength of God guide 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 Angels of God guard us.
Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
Christ be over all!May Christ be in us,
May Thy Grace, Lord,Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore.