A Tribute to Saint Patrick

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2023 Blog #11

March 13, 2023

A Tribute to Saint Patrick

This week is Saint Patrick’s Day. In our nation we tend to celebrate with parades, songs and by consuming a great deal of alcohol. I would like to pay tribute to St. Patrick and critique some of the customs that we affiliate with St. Patrick.

Corned beef is not a food item in Ireland. American Irish began eating this in New York City as they affiliated with German immigrants who regularly ate this as a staple.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is less a celebration of revelry and more a sacred time of prayer held in church.

St. Patrick did not drive snakes out of Ireland. Given it has been isolated since the ice age, chances are that no snakes ever lived in Ireland.

So what is the real story of Saint Patrick? There are differing stories as to where he was born and lived. The majority of people believe that he grew up in England while a minority believe that he was originally French. Historical accounts do agree on the following:

He was kidnapped by Irish raiders and lived as a farm slave in Ireland.

Despite his slavery, he felt an affinity for the Irish people and grew to love them.

He felt called to the priesthood and vowed to escape slavery and return to Ireland as a priest.

After a long and dangerous journey he escaped, studied and was ordained a priest and returned to evangelize Ireland.

His knowledge of the creation-worshipping people of Ireland helped him translate the gospel of Jesus into a language the Irish could understand. He began to teach around bonfires as Irish pagans regularly used fire to scare away evil spirits. The common Celtic Cross that we know today was a merger of the circle which represented the world and the traditional Christian cross. This represented that Christ died for the whole world.

What about the Shamrock? St. Patrick used this to explain the Holy Trinity.

Whether he had exceptional speaking gifts, extra charisma, or his use of Irish tradition was effective, he moved Christianity to be the majority religion of the people on that Island. He felt love and affection for those who had once enslaved him.

How many of us would be so loving toward those who made us slaves? How many of us fall in love with people who had captured us by violence? How many of us could tailor our preaching so well by knowing our audience? I suspect not many of us have the heart and talents of Saint Patrick.

He showed courage in his escape. He showed love for oppressors. He showed ingenuity in evangelism. He is a role model for us all. May we live as faithfully and lovingly as he.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #PastorMarkAuthor            

#BergenCounty                                                        #BergenfieldNJ

#St.Patrick’sDay                                                       #St.Patrick

#Ireland                                                                     #Saints

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please look at his website:


Published by pastormarkauthor

I have been a Reformed Church in America pastor and Christian Author since 1984. In addition I am certified Crisis Counselor, certified Disaster Chaplain and have two units of Clinical Pastoral Education.

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