A Lot More to St. Patrick’s Day
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, indeed a “great day for the Irish,” but a feast as well for all of us in the archdiocese of New York, for he is our patron saint, so obvious in the grand cathedral that bears his name.
Sure, it’s a feast of song, music, dance, reunion, stories, memories, friends, family . . . maybe even a drink! But, there’s a lot more to it, right?
For one, it’s about faith . . . to be precise, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. Patrick was hardly some conqueror, nationalist, or revolutionary. He was a pastor, a bishop, a preacher, an evangelist, a missionary, a saint. He spoke, not of a pint or corned-beef and cabbage, but of God – – Father, Son, and Spirit – -, His church, prayer, salvation, and reconciliation with God and one another.
Two, the embrace of that faith cost the people of Ireland a lot. Their “neighbor” to the East was less than enthusiastic about the dignity and freedom that faith preached by Bishop Patrick gave the Irish. Thus they suffered oppression and starvation. Thus does tomorrow’s feast summon us to solicitude for those persecuted for their Christian faith right now, and those bent with war, poverty, bondage, and disease, and hunger.
Three, because of Ireland’s beleaguered centuries, her sons and daughters had to leave their tiny country just to survive. Historians tell us that the two ethnic groups who most often had to flee, and are now in diaspora – – all over the world! – – are the Irish and the Jews. Thus does tomorrow’s feast wakes-us-up to the needs of today’s immigrants and refugees, and prompt us to resist the yelling of so many who would harass those who leave home in search of a new one, to caricature them, blame them, and keep them away.
Faith in God, revealed in Jesus and His Church;
Charity for those now suffering for their own faith and denial of their dignity;
Welcome to today’s Irish who come as immigrants and refugees.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!