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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Across the United States, March 17 is a day many claim to be Irish or Irish at heart. With parades and festivals, the celebrations honoring the Patron Saint of Ireland are enjoyed by many. However, the intended meaning of St. Patrick’s Day is spiritual renewal and prayers for missionaries worldwide.

So, who is St. Patrick? He was born to Roman Britain aristocrats in 387A.D. and named Maewyn Succat. At the age of sixteen, Maewyn was kidnapped and a taken to Ireland as a slave. After several years in captivity, he received a vision in a dream and believed that God was telling him to go back home. Shortly thereafter, he managed to escape and travel to the coast where he boarded a ship going back to Roman Britain.

During his captivity, it was his Christian faith that kept his heart filled with hope, even in the pagan culture. After returning home and experiencing another vision, he became a priest. His faith then led him back to Ireland where he served as a missionary, converting the pagan Irish to Christianity.

He traveled the Emerald Isle for nearly forty years, teaching the gospel, and building schools and monasteries. Folklore credits St. Patrick as using the three leaf clover (a/k/a the shamrock) to teach the pagans about the Christian Holy Trinity. Upon his death on March 17, 461A.D., he was credited as ministering to both prince and paupers, building over 300 new churches and baptizing 100,000.

When the Irish Catholics immigrated to America, they brought with them their religious beliefs and continued to celebrate the life of St. Patrick on March 17. Since this day falls during the season of lent, the day grew quite popular as the Irish Catholics were allowed to take a reprieve from their principles of lent. The traditional Irish meal was boiled potatoes and bacon, but in America they were able to get cheap cuts of beef instead. By bringing, seasoning and slow cooking the meat with cabbage, they celebrated with a hearty meal of corned beef and cabbage (and maybe a pint or two) in honor of St. Patrick.

As you are wearing your Irish green this March 17, we hope you enjoy the festivities and a hearty meal, but don’t forget to tip your hat to the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick.