Shona Lá Fhéile Pádraig to all across the world who are connected to the Cloyne Diocese in any way.
“…Belief in the Threeness & confession of the Oneness of the Creator of Creation…” (from St Patrick’s Breastplate). This is how St. Patrick praised the Holy Trinity. Legend tells how he borrowed the humble shamrock to illustrate the mystery of God to the Irish people, witnessing to the Gospel in a land where he had spent six years of his youth as a slave, tending sheep for an Irish chieftain. Patrick’s deep trust in God carried him through his hardships and strengthened him to answer the call of the Irish later in His life and return to Ireland to teach & preach the Gospel in a spirit of compassion, mercy and mission, leading him to pioneer the setting up of the Monastic Church structure in Ireland.
From banishing snakes to angelic apparitions during the 40 days of Lent he spent on Croagh Patrick, legends and tales of this saint abound but one of the most beautiful stories is that of the lighting of the Paschal Fire on the Hill of Slane on Holy Saturday Night 433 A.D. to the horror of the druids who insisted that all fires at this time of year were to be extinguished until Laoighre the High King lit the great fire on the Hill of Tara. They pleaded with the king to challenge Patrick for his actions prophesying that if He did not the “Christian flame” would burn in Ireland forever. Laoighre summoned Patrick to Tara to answer for his defiance of druidic law but was so impressed by Patrick’s preaching of the Gospel that he permitted the first Paschal fire in Ireland to burn and usher in the great feast of Easter.
This St. Patrick’s Day we pray that the flame of faith and peace that St. Patrick ignited in our beloved land all those years ago may never die and in this Jubilee year of Mercy may that same Paschal light and mission spread heart to heart to all our brothers and sisters both in Ireland and well beyond in our beautiful but broken world to all who need that flame of hope the most.
“I arise today through the strength of heaven…Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
…Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.” (St Patrick’s Breastplate)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Collect for St Patrick’s Day Mass:
Lord, through the work of Saint Patrick in Ireland
we have come to acknowledge the mystery on the one true God
and give thanks for our salvation in Christ;
grant by his prayers
that we who celebrate this festival
my keep alive the fire of faith he kindled.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.