St. Patrick

Friends in Christ,  
Today is the feast of St. Patrick.  We remember today the immigrants who brought the Catholic Faith to our country.  Today it is Pol’s, and Mexicans, and Filipinos, and Indians, and others – the immigrants, but in the 19th century it was the Irish, who brought great faith and warm hearts to our land.   

Now St. Patrick himself was actually not Irish!  He was born in 390 to an aristocratic family in England.  So he is from England, and he was named Patricius.  
When he was only 9 years old, he was kidnapped by pirates and dumped in Ireland where he was a slave until age 15.  Ireland was a land of the Druids and the worst in paganism.  Filthy practices were common there, including bestiality.  This is the world without God;  a world not knowing Jesus Christ, or right from wrong, or even that heaven exists.  Patrick felt compassion for these lost souls, and –  in the time he was there in slavery he prayed a lot.

He later would write down in his notebook: ‘In those days, my faith grew, and my spirit was stirred up,  so that in a single day I said as many as a hundred prayers,  and I would often stay in the woods on the mountain  and say another hundred prayers at night..  I awoke at dawn, no matter the weather.  There was no lack of fervor in me in those days.’   

After 6 years as a slave, he escaped and found passage back to England.  He turned his back on the aristocratic life of his family,  and trained to become a priest, and then he returned to Ireland.   

An extremely sensitive person, Patrick’s heart nearly was breaking as he left his homeland.  He went as a Bishop. He followed another who had been martyred a year earlier.  

It was St. Patrick’s holiness, zeal, and miracles,  that transformed an Island of Druids to an Island of Saints.  It was his intense love of God which was the secret  of the extraordinary impression he produced upon those he met.   It is absolutely true, that in less than 30 years,  he had converted all of Ireland to the Christian Faith.  St. Patrick ordained over 5000 priests, and consecrated 350 bishops.  

But a little known fact about St. Patrick is this:  Many saints have done miracles, but no saint has raised as many people back from the dead as St. Patrick.  No less than 39 times, he raised persons from the dead.  He showed the people the promise of heaven.  If that lovely Emerald Island, makes us think of heaven, then may St. Patrick today bring alive in us,  a joy and a hope in the heavenly homeland ahead.    

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