Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2017

On Friday, March 17th, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. As I paused for a moment to think about this holiday of all things green and lucky, I realized I know nothing about who St. Patrick actually was.

And as it turns out, he has an interesting and inspiring story. St. Patrick was born in Britain, but at the age of 16 he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland to work in the fields. It was during these six years of captivity that he became a devout Christian. He then escaped back to Britain, traveling more than 200 miles on foot, where he then received revelation that he was to become a priest. He spent 15 years studying, was ordained as a priest, and then received further revelation that he was to return to Ireland to assist the church and minister to the Irish people. St. Patrick incorporated many of the Irish pagan traditions into religious holidays such as Easter to share the Gospel with the natives. He also used the clover to describe the Holy Trinity.

It is believed that St. Patrick played an integral role in the growth of Christianity in Ireland. We celebrate on March 17th because it is also believed that was the day of his passing. Many years later, immigrants to the United States, along with a devout Catholic population of larger cities such as New York, Boston, and Chicago, incorporated festivities, parades, vibrant shades of green, and the traditional dish of corned beef and cabbage on a large scale to celebrate this beloved saint.