St. Patrick's Day March 17th, 2011- What we celebrate and why ! By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
The New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee announced the Grand Marshal for the Historic 250th New York City St Patrick's Day Parade. Mary Higgins Clark will be the Grand Marshall this year. 1)
The first St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York was held on lower Broadway in 1762 by a band of homesick Irish ex-patriots and Irish military who served with the British Army stationed in the American colonies. 2)
Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland . He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland- arguably a miracle . St. Patrick was born on December 16, AD 385 . There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that he died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D ( some say 493 AD) . His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the "evil eye." Another account has St. Patrick ending his days at Glastonbury, England - the burial site . 3)
One very popular story is that St. Patrick was able to chase all of the snakes out of Ireland where they drowned in the ocean. In reality, St. Patrick didn’t chase snakes out of Ireland. There have never been any records of snakes living anywhere proximate to the Emerald Isle. Instead, figurative language was often employed in these folklores. In this case, the serpents probably depicted druid and pagan religions that slowly disappeared from Ireland over a period of centuries after St. Patrick is said to have placed the seeds of Christianity in Ireland . 4)
St. Patrick was a great missionary bishop . He converted a whole land from paganism by overturning the Druid faith . The Druids were at once in arms against him. Patrick was not disheartened. The intrepid missionary resolved to search out a more friendly territory in which to consummate his mission. Tradition fondly points out the impression of St. Patrick's foot upon the hard rock - off the main shore, at the entrance to Skerries harbour. Continuing his northern course, he halted at the mouth of the River Boyne. A number of the natives circled around him and heard with joy the glad tidings of Redemption in their native language . There too he performed his first miracle on Irish soil to confirm the honor due to the Blessed Virgin, and the Divine birth of Jesus Christ .
Once , Patrick proposed a trial by fire. The druid, covered by Patrick’s cloak, would be locked in a hut made of freshly sawed wood. Benignus, Patrick’s young disciple, would be clothed in Lucat-Mael’s cloak and placed in a hut of dry wood. Then both huts would be burned to the ground. All accepted the terms, and with the two men in place, the huts were torched. This test had a marvelous outcome. Flames consumed the hut of new wood and the druid, but Patrick’s cloak was unscathed. Benignus and his hut remained untouched by the fire, but Lucat-Mael’s cloak was burned to ashes.
Patrick’s miraculous encounters with the druids were so spectacular that modern historians discount them as legends. But as extraordinary as the miracles were, the earliest documents reported them as facts. Patrick’s wonders set the stage for Ireland's conversion . Why should he not have expected divine interventions at such significant moments during his lifetime . 5)
He consecrated 350 bishops, erected 700 churches, and ordained 5,000 priests. In less than 3 decades , the greater part of Ireland was Catholic . St. Patrick so consolidated Ireland in the Christian faith that during the Protestant Revolt - Ireland was considered to be unique in its preservation of the Faith. Even today, people speak of "the faith of the Irish." 6)
Samples of St. Patrick's Day meals include:
Classic Corned Beef and Cabbage Glazed Corned Beef Dinner Recipe Corned Beef, Home-Cured Herb Dumpling Stew Glazed Corned Beef Reuben Casserole Homemade Corned Beef Crockpot Corned Beef Dinner Corned Beef Bake Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup Lamb Stew with Potatoes Herb and Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb Irish Stew Irish Lamb Stew Slow Cooker Irish Stew Cottage Pie Sausage and Potato Coddle Dublin Coddle Shepherd's Pie 7)
The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text: 8)
I bind to myself today The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity: I believe the Trinity in the Unity The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism, The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial, The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension, The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
I bind to myself today The virtue of the love of seraphim, In the obedience of angels, In the hope of resurrection unto reward, In prayers of Patriarchs, In predictions of Prophets, In preaching of Apostles, In faith of Confessors, In purity of holy Virgins, In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today The power of Heaven, The light of the sun, The brightness of the moon, The splendour of fire, The flashing of lightning, The swiftness of wind, The depth of sea, The stability of earth, The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today God's Power to guide me, God's Might to uphold me, God's Wisdom to teach me, God's Eye to watch over me, God's Ear to hear me, God's Word to give me speech, God's Hand to guide me, God's Way to lie before me, God's Shield to shelter me, God's Host to secure me, Against the snares of demons, Against the seductions of vices, Against the lusts of nature, Against everyone who meditates injury to me, Whether far or near, Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues Against every hostile merciless power Which may assail my body and my soul, Against the incantations of false prophets, Against the black laws of heathenism, Against the false laws of heresy, Against the deceits of idolatry, Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids, Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today Against every poison, against burning, Against drowning, against death-wound, That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left, Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot seat, Christ in the poop [deck], Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity, I believe the Trinity in the Unity The Creator of the Universe.
St. Patrick is the Apostle of Ireland. One famous quote about him is: May the Irish hills caress you May her lakes and rivers bless you May the luck of the Irish enfold you May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you the day is celebrated in New Haven with a parade and with the ShamRock&Roll 5k road race which benefits the diapers bank of Connecticut.