S+L logo

St. Patrick: "Hope and Strength for all"

March 17, 2012
Published below is a message from Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate for all of Ireland. In the Universal Church today, we celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.
With great joy, on this, the Feast day of St Patrick, our National Apostle, I wish Irish people everywhere a very happy St Patrick’s Day.  As we gather to celebrate our identity, our culture and our heritage, I salute you and greet you.
This St Patrick’s Day, I am keenly aware of the huge numbers who have emigrated from Ireland in recent times, especially those who felt they had no choice.  May the memory of St Patrick, who was himself carried off from his homeland at the age of sixteen, sustain all those who have left our shores for other lands.  May the example of Patrick’s faith in God, who comforted and protected him, protect and comfort them also.
Christianity has shaped our identity and heritage as Irish people in so many ways. Our celebration would be seriously impoverished if we ignored this Christian dimension of St Patrick’s legacy.
Copies have survived of two writings of St Patrick.  They tell us the kind of man Patrick was, of his faith and of his understanding of God.  They tell us that Patrick was a man who knew how to turn adversity into opportunity.  He successfully turned the adversity of six years of slavery on Slemish into an opportunity to grow in his knowledge and love of the God who, in Patrick’s words, “protected and comforted me as a father would his son.”  That knowledge and love of the Triune God are the basis of Patrick’s greatness.
Adversity also taught him the folly of relying exclusively on himself and the necessity of relying on others and especially on the God who created him.
My hope on this St Patrick’s day is that more and more Irish people will come to know the kind of person St Patrick really was, that they will come to know the faith that inspired him and carried him through the adversities of his life.
Towards the end of his Confession, Patrick makes perfectly clear that he “never had any reason, beyond the Gospel and its promises, ever to return to the people from whom I had formerly, barely escaped.”  We have the same Gospel and the same promises.  My earnest hope is that we will all rise to the challenge of announcing that Gospel in the Ireland of today. My prayer is that we will not shut out or lose the Christian message that has brought such hope, consolation and strength to generations of Irish people, especially in times of adversity and challenge.
In his Confession, St. Patrick compares himself to “a stone that had fallen into a deep bog.  And He who is mighty, came and in His mercy, picked me up and indeed lifted me high to place me on top of the wall.”  As we prepare for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Dublin this June, we ask St. Patrick and all the Irish saints for a deep renewal of faith in God’s power to lift us up to new horizons of hope and possibility. A humble trust in Christ’s power to heal and renew in spite of our human weakness, would, I believe be proof of the authenticity of our celebrations today.
-
Photo: CNS 

Related posts

Blessed Paul VI and the Feast of the Transfiguration
FacebookTwitter
Read Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B's reflection as we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Blessed Paul VI and the Feast of the Transfiguration. ...read more
St. John Marie Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests
FacebookTwitter
"The Church wants not only learned priests but, even more, holy ones." Fr. Thomas Rosica reflects on the life of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests. ...read more
Watch this original S+L series of short videos that reflects on the many faces of love in the family by talking to real families in Canada and the US. ...read more
Pope Francis, the death penalty, and the development of doctrine
FacebookTwitter
Pope Francis has just authorized an update to the Church's teaching on the death penalty. Why is the development of doctrine so necessary? ...read more
The Feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne
FacebookTwitter
Matteo Ciofi reports from Rome on how the Vatican is celebrating the feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. ...read more