Wednesday, March 16, 2016

St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland

Today is the feast of St. Patrick, who was a missionary and bishop and is known as the "Apostle of Ireland." He is the patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick was born in Wales about 385 AD. His given name was Maewyn. Until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. He was kidnapped from the British mainland at that time by a group of Irish raiders who sold him into slavery. He escaped from slavery after six years and returned to his homeland. There he heard the call to return and bring Christianity to Ireland, so he went to France and studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years.

He was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop and returned to Ireland around 435 AD. Patrick was quite successful at winning converts, which led to clashes with the Celtic Druids. He 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 conversion of the Irish country to Christianity. In thirty-three years, he successfully converted Ireland. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17, 461.

St. Patrick is the patron saint of: engineers, excluded people,  those who fear snakes, and snake bites.

Prayer: God our Father, you sent St. Patrick to preach your glory to the people of Ireland. By the help of his prayers, may all Christians proclaim your love to all men. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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