Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A friend of mine from Caracas asked what on earth he'd done to get to be a saint with his own holiday? 

"Um, drove the snakes out of Ireland?"  We agreed there had to be more to the story and we both vowed to look it up online.  I got around to it today...

He was born in "Great Britain" - no one seems to know where in G. B.  In 403 A.D., he was 16 and kidnapped from his home and made to work as a slave in Ireland.  Six long years later, he escaped, returned to his home in Wherever, Great Britain, and became a cleric.  And went right straight back to northern and western Ireland!

There are several things he did and didn't do.  Primarily he couldn't banish the snakes from Ireland because Ireland never had snakes in the first place!

A breathless reporter wrote that his staff, made of ash, turned into a tree.  This is a tease.  Patrick had a habit of standing his ash staff in the dirt while he addressed his audience.  'Tis said that one time he talked so long the ash staff put out roots!

He used shamrocks to illustrate the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

I thought it was being disrespectful to refer to him and this day using "Paddy" instead of "Patrick" but it turns out that Padraic is Irish for Patrick and it's used affectionately.

He rose up through the ranks to become the first Bishop of Armagh.

Are we celebrating his birthday?  Quite the contrary.  He died  on March 17th!  This little factoid amuses me greatly as every celebration I've ever seen for this day involved fun, gaiety and lots of adult beverages and, depending on the location of the bar and time of night, soulful renditions of "O Danny Boy"

In fairness, it is treated as a solemn day in several parts of the world.  And after Mass, everyone goes out and gets hammered!

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