March 17th 2024 LÁ FHÉILE PÁDRAIG



Patrick is one of the best known saints in the world and, paradoxically, one of the least known. From Dublin to Dubai, from Ferbane to Fremantle people are familiar with the symbol of the shamrock and the myth of the banishment of the snakes from Ireland. Few, however would have actually read the two works he left us and which give us an insight into his life and heart. The ‘Confessions’ and the ‘Letter to Coroticus’ reveal a man of deep humility, uncommon physical strength and unshakeable trust in God. The land to which he came was strange and the natives were dangerous. He tasted the deep pain of distance and isolation from family and friends. Through it all, his faith was tested, but Patrick persevered, prayed and prevailed. His valiant efforts led to an unprecedented flowering of faith in our land and proved to be the springboard for a proud and rich missionary tradition. ‘Is mór idir inné agus inniu’, but we dare to hope for a new flowering today. Our roots are deep and will not die. Like our traditional music and dance, the flame of faith will burn strongly again. It’s part of who we are, and future generations will once again discover its richness, its strength and its power. In the meantime, we persevere as Patrick did; we celebrate his achievement; we salute past generations who nurtured the seed he planted and we recommit ourselves, in our time, to do what they did in more difficult times. May the teenage slave of Slemish Mountain be our model, our inspiration and our guide. Dia inn ló ‘gus oíche is Pádraig Aspal Éireann.



As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, our thoughts turn to those who have emigrated from our shores. We remember and pray for all Irish people overseas – those who are recently departed and those who left our shores many years ago. We ask you to remember in a special way those emigrants whose journey has been a difficult one and may need that extra bit of help and support. In addition to practical assistance, emigrants need spiritual and emotional support. We remember those who work tirelessly to assist Irish emigrants of all generations, particularly the Irish chaplaincies in the United States and the U.K. We also pray those who have been touched by the sense of loss that comes with a loved one emigrating, that they will find strength and comfort as they cope with the pain of separation.