And so, ‘tis the day of the dear Saint Patrick once again. We wish you a hearty Lá Fhéile Pádraig!
Should ye meet a Leprechaun along your way, or someone wearin’ the bless’ed green, say it aright. ‘Tis not said with lips alone, but sincerely, more from the heart. In the vulgar tongue of these western colonies, it may sound a bit like this: “Law fawl-ee Paw-drigh.”
Do you know this man named Patrick? It never was easy to become a saint, you know, and surely it was the work of a lifetime for Patrick himself. Some of his earliest history calls him a fighter, a martial figure who challenged the native Irish druid priests, overthrew their pagan idols, and cursed the kings and kingdoms of the Emerald Isle. After all, at the age of 16, Irish raiders had invaded his homeland of Roman-Britannia and captured and enslaved him for six long years before he escaped in about the year 409 AD.
Patrick had found God in his captivity, so he returned with Him to Ireland and set out to destroy his captors’ culture. But he did it in the way which Christians, when at their best, have always done. The Gospel of love, Patrick said, could cast out fear and hatred and upend a culture of invasion, conquest and slavery. Forgiveness and humility were, ultimately, a more powerful way than revenge and chest-thumping pride.
Patrick preached a kind of Emancipation Proclamation for the people of Ireland. By the time Patrick died on Thursday, March 17 in the year 460 AD, he was beloved and revered by the Irish people of his adopted and beloved isle.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig!
…from the staff of The Jamestown Gazette.