Tag Archives: St. Patrick

today’s holiday: St. Columba’s Day


St. Columba’s Day

Along with St. Bridget and St. Patrick, St. Columba (c. 521-597) is a patron saint of Ireland. Although he led an exemplary life, traveling all over Ireland to set up churches, schools, and monasteries, he is chiefly remembered for his self-imposed exile to the island of Iona off the Scottish coast. He landed at Iona on the eve of Pentecost, and proceeded to found a monastery and school from which he and his disciples preached the gospel throughout Scotland. Although he had been forbidden to see his native country again, he returned several years later. More… Discuss

St. Patrick Prayers: St Patrick’s Breastplate (and thirteen more)


Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me
Christ beside me, Christ to win me
Christ to comfort me and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend or stranger.

(390-461 A.D.)


The most kids know of St. Patrick ‘s Day is that you must wear green or you’ll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are celebrating or why the holiday is so important, particularly in the Americas. 

The following 10 facts may help you to better enjoy this popular holiday.

 
Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

3/17/2014 (11 months ago)



10. March 17th is when Patrick died.

Saint Patrick is a saint of the Catholic Church, and his holy day is the day of his death, and subsequent entrance to heaven, rather than the day of his physical birth. After spending most of his adult life converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick went to his reward on March 17, 461 AD. 

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9. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.

St. Patrick wasn’t Irish, and he wasn’t born in Ireland. Patrick’s parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.

8. St. Patrick was a slave.

At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years growing closer to God.

7. St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the trinity.

Many claim the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love, or any number of other things but it was actually used by Patrick to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and how three things, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate entities, yet one in the same. Obviously, the pagan rulers of Ireland found Patrick to be convincing because they quickly converted to Christianity.

6. Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland.

According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, “toads,” out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term “snakes” may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians. 

 5. Patrick’s color is blue. 

The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green as commonly believed. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. King Henry VIII used the Irish harp in gold on a blue flag to represent the country. Since that time, and possibly before, blue has been a popular color to represent the country on flags, coats-of-arms, and even sports jerseys.

Green was associated with the country later, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside, which is so because Ireland receives plentiful rainfall. Today, the country is also referred to as the “Emerald Isle.” 

4. The Shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. 

The shamrock is a popular Irish symbol, but it is not the symbol of Ireland. As early as the medieval period, the harp has appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts. However, it is certain that the harp was popular in Irish legend and culture even well before that period. 

Since the medieval period, the harp has represented the nation. King Henry VIII used the harp on coins as early as 1534. Later, the harp was used on Irish flags and Irish coats of arms. The harp was also used as a symbol of the Irish people during their long struggle for freedom. Starting in 1642 the harp appeared on flags during rebellions against English rule. When Ireland became an independent country in 1921, it adopted the harp as the national symbol. 

3. There are more Irish in the USA than Ireland.

Well, sort of. An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. Some are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, but many more have mixed ancestry today. By contrast, there are 4.2 million people living in Ireland. This peculiarity has a lot to do with the troubled history of Ireland. During the potato famine in Ireland, millions of Irish left the country for the US. This diaspora of Irish continued throughout much of the 19th century. Great numbers of Irish immigrants filled factories, served as railroad laborers –and even joined the military, sometimes immediately upon stepping foot on American soil! During the US Civil War, entire regiments of troops were comprised exclusively of Irish immigrants.  It wasn’t until the economic boom of the 1990s that more Irish stayed in their native country than traveled abroad searching for better opportunities. 

2. St. Patrick’s Day in the US has a strong political history.

In the mid 19th century, the Irish faced discrimination much like that faced by African Americans. In a few rare instances, prejudice against the Irish was even more fierce! The Irish were culturally unique, Catholic, and because of deplorable conditions in Ireland, flooded into the US in large numbers. They were perceived as a potentially disloyal and were treated harshly. To combat this, the American Irish began to organize themselves politically. By the end of the 19th century, St. Patrick’s Day was a large holiday for the Irish and an occasion for them to demonstrate their collective political and social might. While the political emphasis has faded along with the discrimination, the holiday remains ever popular as an opportunity for festivity regardless of one’s cultural background.

1. St. Patrick’s was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970.

Aside from the color green, the activity most associated with St. Patrick’s Day is drinking. However, Irish law, from 1903 to 1970, declared St. Patrick’s Day a religious observance for the entire country meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day. That meant no beer, not even the green kind, for public celebrants. The law was overturned in 1970, when St. Patrick’s was reclassified as a national holiday – allowing the taps to flow freely once again.

Bonus Fact: Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are:

About 1 in 10,000.

Pope Francis: end world hunger through ‘Prayer and Action’

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, March 17th, 2015: St. Patrick


Image of St. Patrick

St. Patrick

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints. Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

Catholic Prayers: ST. PATRICK’S BREASTPLATE


ST. PATRICK’S BREASTPLATE

St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a popular prayer attributed to one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish
King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. (The term breastplate refers to a piece of armor worn in battle.)

More recent scholarship suggests its author was anonymous. In any case, this prayer certainly reflects the spirit with which St. Patrick brought our faith to Ireland! St. Patrick’s Breastplate, also known as The Lorica (the cry of the deer), was popular enough to inspire a hymn based on this text as well.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

[Note that people sometimes pray a shorter version of this prayer just with these 15 lines about Christ above. The conclusion follows below.]

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

When St. Paul referred to putting on the “Armor of God” in his letter to the Ephesians (6:11) to fight sin and evil inclinations, he could have been thinking of prayers just like this one! We may not wear combat gear in our daily lives, but St. Patrick’s Breastplate can function as divine armor for protection against spiritual adversity.

TODAY’S SAINT: St. Colette Feastday: March 6


St. Colette

St. Colette

Feastday: March 6
1380 – 1447

Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at CorbyAbbey in Picardy, France. She was born on January 13, christened Nicolette, and called Colette. Orphaned at seventeen, she distributed her inheritance to the poor. She became a Franciscan tertiary, and lived at Corby as a solitary. She soon became well known for her holiness and spiritual wisdom, but left her cell in 1406 in response to a dream directing her to reform the Poor Clares. She received the Poor Clares habit from Peter de Luna, whom the French recognized as Pope under the name of Benedict XIII, with orders to reform the Order and appointing her Superiorof all convents she reformed. Despite great opposition, she persisted in her efforts. She founded seventeen convents with the reformed rule and reformed several older convents. She was reknowned for her sanctity, ecstacies, and visions of the Passion, and prophesied her own death in her convent at Ghent, Belgium. A branch of the Poor Clares is still known as the Collettines. She was canonized in 1807. Her feast day is March 6th.

St. Patrick: Man, Myth & Holiday

Learn interesting facts and tidbits about the beloved St. Patrick.

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