|Saint Patrick of Ireland|
Today the church remembers St. Patrick, Bishop and Missionary of Ireland, 461.
Scarcely any saint has been as celebrated as St. Patrick. Few have been more deserving. He was born of Christian parents in Roman Britain. At sixteen he was captured by barbarian raiders and carried off to Ireland as a slave. After six years as a swineherd he escaped and eventually returned to Britain. To the astonishment of family and friends, he resolved to return to Ireland as a missionary. After many hardships and disappointments he was able to return to the land of his bondage as a missionary bishop.
Patrick was not the first Christian missionary to Ireland, but he was by far the most successful. Patrick himself has left us a record of his experiences in his Confessions" how he confronted the fierce king at Tara and how he confounded the proud Druids. His sound and effective teaching is reflected in a hymn, "I bind unto myself today". Most of Patrick's work was done in the northern part of the island. His headquarters were at Armagh. He made a famous pilgrimage into the mountains of Mayo. He died at Saul in Ulster. It is said that he found a heathen Ireland, but left a Christian one.
Bless your servant Patrick, O Lord, and all the people of Ireland. Amen.
Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.