St Patrick-His Feast Day and His Legacy

A St Patrick's Day Badge
If you're interested in St Patrick and his Feast day on 17th March then keep reading! Specifically, I'll be covering the day itself, and St Patrick's life in general. 

March 17th is a day of great pride for the Irish people and their many descendants across the globe. It's also a day of religious observance in Ireland (Catholics are obliged to attend Church as part of the celebrations) and of entertainment and celebration and of course good old Irish drinking. 

Parades held in St Patrick's honor with floats arrayed with all things Irish have become famous, not least the New York parade and also the Birmingham parade (UK).

March 17th showcases for the world the Irish way of life their culture and not least their great faith. 

Few can ignore the show of national pride for their country and patron saint and indeed many who aren't of Irish extraction don their green hats and pin clumps of shamrock to their jackets to join in the spirit of the day. 
When God said “Go forth and multiply” the Irish took this literally and if the Irish was taken out of many nation's blood, the countries would be anaemic an American told me once. 

Not only have the Irish spread throughout the globe but the nation of ‘saints and sinners’ has also spread their good cheer, love of the ‘craic’ and their faith in God too. 

The Irish are a gifted and intelligent people of naturally modest dispositions. The tiny cradle of firm, indomitable missionary beliefs from the emerald isle has reached places that not even armies could reach such as places in Africa in the 20's and Papua New Guinea in the 50's. 

St Patrick I am sure, gazes with a twinkle of joy in his eyes on his adopted country on his feast day, March 17th, which has become by default, the country's feast day. I am sure he casts over to St Bridget, the other patron saint of Ireland, a wee gaze of apology as she is mostly forgotten outside of Ireland though her straw crosses grace many Irish doorways with a blessing. 

St Patrick came back to the Irish people after being ordained as a Bishop. He had first been dragged over to Ireland from England or Scotland by raiders and kept as a slave. As a teen he managed to escape and returned as a Bishop to evangelise the people he had grown to love during his captivity. 

The Shamrock
St Patrick wanted to lead the Irish people who were of a genetically pre disposed mystical tradition already away from suprstition and into the Way, the Truth and the Life who is Jesus. 

St Patrick's zeal in preaching the truth of God’s Kingdom soon caught on and the faith spread far and wide throughout the kingdom.Patrick's use of the shamrock as a teaching aid is now legendary. The three leaf plant has three parts but is one leaf just as God is one and indivisible but one God in three persons at the same time. The shamrock illustrated the principle of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Love of money hinders faith
This mystery of the Trinity captivated St Patrick and was the central tenet in leading the Irish away from their paganism, which many say they are being led back into at the moment through the Celtic tiger.

By using the three leafed shamrock St Patrick kept his 'new' religion down to earth for the land loving people and spoke to them on their level as any good missionary would do. 

The effects of St Patrick's preaching and zeal for the Word of God in the Gospel are still felt throughout the globe today. There is barely a country in the world which doesn’t have schools, universities and confraternities dedicated to his name. These were often built by the heroic and poor Irish immigrants and missionaries of yester year.

Their contribuition to social infrastructure and growth is often forgotten in the attacks on the Catholic Church in recent years. 

Tara has spread her faith, her song and her dance to the four corners of the globe. The phenomenonal success of Riverdance which took the world by storm in 1995 through the Eurovision Song Contest and onwards shows how beautiful Irish culture steeped in it's elemental spirituality can be. 

As for St Patrick (circa 387-493) himself there is little hard substantiated evidence of his life. As mentioned above, whilst a Roman citizen living in Great Britain, he was captured by raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland whereon he returned there again when free to lead the Irish to Christ.

Many places in Scotland and England claim St Patrick’s birthplace as their heritage and he is reportedly buried at Downpatrick in the North of the country. 
Out of all the patron saints, St Patrick has done the 'best' missionary work for his country's fame and fortunes and as far as Church attendance on a Feast day is concerned. He  draws the crowds in as they say!

May he watch over and guard the Irish people throughout the world and protect them from economic hardship and strengthen their Christian faith and bring peace into every heart. St Patrick pray for Ireland. Amen.