Part of me dislikes  St Patrick’s Day.  I fear it has been taken over by a cultural celebration with no reference to the spiritual or the faith side of the saint.  We’ll see all sorts of funny St Patricks -  a cultural pageant, often lovely in itself.  But we have forgotten the meaning and kept the man.  He would hardly recognize his feast himself.

Christ be everywhere

To understand Patrick, we must see the place Christ had in his life.  Saint Patrick looked to the Christ of the Gospels for his inspiration. As a young boy he was  imprisoned on Slemish mountain, away from home, like many of our people in the past and our foreign people today.   In prayer to Christ he felt secure and strong. His Confessions reveals how that security and strength came from a Christ centered spirituality.

The young Patrick

To our young people Patrick has a message - you can get to know Christ when you are young.  He is the friend of young and old.  Religion is not something just for old age and when death is around.  You can have big dreams and they can involve a big world, willing to give what you are and who you are for God.  He is the original youthful pilgrim - his ‘camino’ of Ireland brings us from Mayo to Slane to Tara to Donegal and the little holy wells of Patrick all over the country.   His pilgrimage brings us into the life of the people and the life of God

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May your Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.
Donal Neary SJ.


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