Mass Times For St Patrick’s Day
16th March at 7.30pm in St Brigid’s and St Joseph’s Sheeptown.
17th March at 10.30am in Newry Cathedral (on Irish) and St Mary’s.
St Catherine’s at 8.00am, 9am, 10.30am, 12.30pm.
St Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and hence Patrick is a very popular name with about 7 million around the world people bearing his name. Many establishments, institutions, and churches are called after him – Saint Patrick and Colman’s Cathedral in Newry is one of them.
It is often said that on St. Patrick’s Day ‘everyone is Irish’. Everyone, that is, except St. Patrick himself! Born into a family of Romans living in Great Britain, he was captured by Irish pirates as a young man and was brought to Ireland, where he became known as a great preacher who taught the pagans about Christianity and brought many Irish people to God.
Although Patrick was only 16 years old when taken into slavery, he was able to escape six years later and return home. He recounts a ‘dream’ (vision) he had, in which an angel of the Lord came in the night, and told him of a ship that was leaving Ireland, and how he might be able to take it by traveling south, near Dublin.
Later, as he said himself in his ‘Confessions’, he was tormented by the ‘Voice of the Irish’, whom he had heard calling in the night: ‘Come back to us Patrick’.
He asked to be sent as a missionary to Ireland, or, as it was known then, Hiberniae, which means the ‘Land of Winter’. Patrick had a great missionary zeal and soon became Ireland’s second Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland.
Luckily, Patrick could read and write and so was able to pen his own autobiography. These writings, called Patrick’s Confessio or Confession, can be used to build up a true picture of who he really was.
Archbishop Eamon Martin says, ‘You won’t find any mention there of green beer, snakes or even shamrock – but you will discover the testimony of a real person who dedicated his life and energies to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. You will read about a young man who was seized from his family home as a teenager and trafficked to Ireland where he worked as a slave until he escaped back to his homeland. You will learn that even though Patrick had been raised in a Christian home and family, he says he had little knowledge or understanding of the true God’.
An Irish tale which may also have an element of truth about it tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He apparently used it to show how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. Hence we follow the custom of wearing the shamrock on his feast day.
St Patrick’s life is a true testament that it is during our most difficult days that we find our true self and purpose. When he was isolated and alone in captivity, minding flocks in the cold and rain on the hills and valleys of Ireland, he found strength and courage in prayer and grew to know God’s love and protection in a powerful and personal way.
St Patrick’s mission in Ireland lasted approximately thirty years. He travelled extensively throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country, setting up the schools and churches that would aid him in his conversion of the Irish to Christianity. After this he retired to County Down. It is said that he died on March 17th in AD 461, and since then, the date has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day.
The Breastplate was Patrick’s poem of faith and trust in God. This is an extract from it,
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me