A Message from Fr Dan: A Message from Fr Dan: Hail Glorious St. Patrick!

Published on March 14, 2024

St. Patrick’s Day is the day when millions of people, even those without a drop of Irish blood become honorary Irish for the day. The day itself has become traditionally associated with parades and the wearing of the green. Globally the 17th March is pencilled in as a day for everyone to celebrate the impact that our ancestors have made on both the religious and social development of our world.


Following St. Patrick’s footsteps, the early monks brought the light of Christian Faith to a Europe of that time that had fallen into darkness of pagan worship. Even to this day Irish Missionaries, both religious and lay, are to be found in every corner of the world, bringing dignity, hope and love to people who are suffering and poor.


The early ideas I had of St. Patrick was that in his youth he had a hard time as a slave in Ireland but that after his return as a missionary he found success came very easy. Later in life I read documents called his “Confessions” and “Letters to Coroticus” and I realised that his life as a missionary here in Ireland was anything but an easy one.


Despite all his success he had to cope with many disappointments and setbacks and would certainly not have achieved so much if he did not have great faith in God. We all know about the first big crisis in Patrick’s life, when at the age of sixteen, he was snatched from his secure home to a life of slavery in Ireland. Yet when he looked back on this time, he saw it as a blessing. From being a lukewarm Christian, he turned to God for help and as he himself wrote “I used to get up for prayer before daylight.”


He escaped after six years, eventually making his way home and later he was ordained a priest, hoping one day to return to Ireland. When he did return, he met with great success but at a price. In his old age some people, envious of his success, began to gossip about him, others who were his helpers were more educated than he was and looked down on him as they felt that he was not qualified to lead them.


The experience of St. Patrick shows us that the path to God is never smooth, even for a great saint. When troubles and disappointments came and he had more than his fair share of them, St. Patrick put his trust in God, reached out to him in prayer and gave an example from which we can all learn. As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we are invited to reflect on our values which are the hallmark of what makes us Christians.


From the Ennis Parish Newsletter – Adapted.