Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It be St. Padraig's Day

St. Patrick is a popular saint who, about 1,500 years ago, brought Christ to the little country of Ireland. Pádraig was born in Roman Britain, and when he was about 16 years old, he was captured during a raid by the Irish and sold as a slave. After about six years, he was able to escape and return to Britain. There he heard the call to return and bring Christianity to Ireland. He was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop and came back to Ireland to preach the Gospel. During the thirty years that his missionary labors continued he covered the Island with churches and monasteries.

Because Confirmation is about joining in the Church's mission to be a witness for Christ, and because Patrick was so extraordinary a missionary, he is an excellent model for us to consider in reflecting upon the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Many legends are associated around St. Patrick: how he drove the snakes out of Ireland, and the use of the shamrock to teach the mystery of the Trinity. Whether or not the legends are true, St. Patrick succeeded in bringing Catholicism to Ireland, and in time, the whole country converted from their pagan gods to the one true God.

I am greatly in God's debt because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, and that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth, just as he once promised through his prophets: "To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught hut lies, worthless things in which there is no profit." And again: "I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth."

-- Confessions of St. Patrick

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