My Thoughts 17/03/2022

Last weekend there was a St. Patricks celebration in London which seems largely to consist of people wearing green, drinking Guinness, listening to Irish folk music, watching Irish dancing and following an enormous model of St. Patrick walking through the crowd. It was a great opportunity to celebrate Irish culture and identity. As someone said,

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who are Irish and those who wish they were Irish.”

So who was St. Patrick? We know that he was British by birth, the son of a decurio (town councillor) who was a deacon, while his grandfather was a priest. The place of his birth was somewhere in the west between the mouth of the Severn and the Clyde, called Bannavem Taburniae. As a youngster he was captured by Irish pirates and became a slave for six years. He managed to eventually get back to his family and after formation he was ordained priest.

He felt a great call to return to Ireland. Although not specially learned, Patrick had sincere simplicity and deep pastoral care. He was concerned with abolishing paganism, idolatry, and sun-worship; he made no distinction of classes in his preaching and was himself ready for imprisonment or death in the following of Christ.

In the opening prayer at Mass today we say:

O God, who chose the Bishop Saint Patrick
to preach your glory to the peoples of Ireland,
grant, through his merits and intercession,
that those who glory in the name of Christian
may never cease to proclaim your wondrous deeds to all.

I pray that, like St. Patrick, we have the confidence to continue to share the Gospel with all. We don’t have to be learned or clever, just trusting that it is God who calls us to be light in the darkness.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest