March 16 2004

[b]Letter to the Editor:[/b]

Posted by Kim
What's missing in St Patrick's Day?

St. Patrick! No where to be found is the Patron St. Patrick, Catholic Bishop to Ireland. He has been replaced by "Lucky Charms", "Shamrock Shakes", "Green Beer" and even "Green Bagels".
There are celebrations in about every city, town and community around this nation but for what? Who is St. Patrick and why is this day, March 17th, so significant?

St. Patrick was an Apostle of Ireland. He was born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387. After retiring from fulltime ministry, He died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 493. His parents, Calphurnius and Conchessa, were related to a Roman family of high rank and status. Conchessa was a near relative of the great patron of Gaul, St. Martin of Tours. The City of Kilpatrick still retains many memorials of Saint Patrick, and frequent pilgrimages continued far into the Middle Ages to perpetuate there the legacy of his service and evangelism to Ireland.

St. Patrick, originally named Maewyn was captured by Irish mercenaries and sold into slavery at the age of 16. For six years he endured the hardship and oppression of slavery at the hand of his master, a known Druid (word for ancient philosopher, upper class of people who viewed themselves as superior to all others), little did Maewyn realize that these six years would be a stepping stone for what God had planned for him in the future. During his captivity, he prayed many times that God would free him from this bondage and after six years of captivity he won his release.

Thereafter, he entered the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert unbelievers to Christianity throughout Ireland as the worship of false gods and idols was prevalent throughout this region. His mission was certainly challenged as persecution and even immanent death were constantly a threat.

On the 26th of March, Easter Sunday, in 433, St. Patrick at this risk of his life rebuked the paganism philosophy of the Druidical priests. Here, before the King of Tara, the Druids prayed to their gods of mystical superstition and were defeated by the One True God by which Patrick in faith proclaimed to all in this kingdom. Patrick presented himself before the assembly, to strike a decisive blow against the Druidism that held the nation of Ireland captive as well as to secure freedom for all people and to proclaim Redemption through Jesus Christ only, for which he was the herald, the messenger of God to the people of Ireland.

St. Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. His progress in establishing a Christian Church upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his evangelism for Christianity among his Irish countryman.

Upon His death on March 17, 493, St Patrick's Day was celebrated as a tribute to this man who brought hope, Redemption and faith to an entire country. The truth of St Patrick's Day is maintained in the legacy of this man and all that God has accomplished in the work and service of the Patron Saint of Ireland.

Pastor Brian Downs

Presho, SD

(Ref: The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI; Copyright @ 1911 by Robert Appleton Company)

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