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Saint of the Day for 17 March: St. Patrick

St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland and Patron of the Spread of Celtic Christianity


St. Patrick




5th century, Scotland


6th century, Down, Ireland


17 March


2004 edition


O St. Patrick Bishop sent by God to the peoples of Ireland as an apostle of the Gospel and who from the height of your sanctuary look down upon our Communities. continue upon us your powerful intercession. Make our youth firm in the faith. Confirm the uncertain. strengthen the weak, help the aged, comfort the sick. Bless those who travel by all means on the roads of the world Let concord and peace reign in our parishes, and deliver us from the dangers of soul and body. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Patron of

Treia, Torre San Patrizio, Casaletto di Sopra

Roman Martyrology

Near the town of Down, Ireland, the birthplace of St. Patrick, Bishop and Confessor, who first proclaimed Christ in that island, and shone by great miracles and virtue.



The Saint and Mission

Saint Patrick, known universally as the Apostle of Ireland, is an emblematic figure in the history of Christianity for his crucial role in the evangelization of Ireland. His life, imbued with faith, courage and an incredible dedication to the mission entrusted to him, is a living testimony of how divine guidance can transform a land and the hearts of its people. Born in Britain in the 4th century and captured by pirates as a teenager, Patrick lived for six years as a slave in Ireland, an experience that, rather than breaking him, deepened his faith and brought him closer to God. His subsequent escape and return to his homeland could have marked the end of his history with Ireland, but Patrick felt an irrepressible calling to return to the land of his slavery, this time as a bearer of the light of the Gospel. St. Patrick’s mission in Ireland was not simply to convert a people to Christianity; it was a mission of cultural and spiritual transformation, carried out with a deep respect for local traditions and beliefs. Patrick understood that evangelization should not be a process of erasing existing culture, but rather a fruitful dialogue that would allow Christianity to enrich and elevate itself within the Celtic traditions. Using symbols culturally significant to the Irish people, such as the shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity, Patrick demonstrated an uncanny ability to communicate profound spiritual truths in ways that were both understandable and captivating to his listeners. This approach, which combined cultural sensitivity and theological depth, facilitated the acceptance and adoption of Christianity across Ireland, leading to the founding of numerous churches and monasteries that would become centers of learning, spirituality and cultural preservation for centuries to come. But St. Patrick’s mission was not only spiritual in nature; it was also intrinsically social. He worked to promote peace between the various Irish clans and kingdoms, promoting justice and fairness, and offering protection and assistance to the most vulnerable. In this sense, his work can be seen as an early example of a holistic Christian mission, which includes the care of the soul as well as that of the body and society. St. Patrick embodies the ideal of the Christian missionary, whose faith, hope, and love for God and his people guide every aspect of his life and work. His legacy, indelibly imprinted on the history and culture of Ireland, reminds us that the mission of spreading the Gospel is imbued with challenges, but also with immense possibilities for transformation and renewal. The life of St. Patrick is an invitation to live our faith with boldness, creativity, and a deep commitment to the well-being of all of God’s children.

The Saint and Mercy

Saint Patrick, known as the Apostle of Ireland, is a figure who deeply embodies the concept of mercy through his mission of evangelization and his unwavering commitment to bringing the light of Christianity to a land then dominated by pagan beliefs and practices. His story, from slave to saint, is a powerful testimony of how divine mercy can transform lives and guide actions towards the realization of works of faith and love. Mercy in the life of St. Patrick is manifested first and foremost in his ability to forgive and love those who had previously enslaved him. After fleeing Ireland and receiving his religious training, Patrick felt an irresistible calling to return to the Irish people, not with rancor or a desire for revenge, but with a deep love and a willingness to share the saving message of the Gospel. This act of radical forgiveness and voluntary return among his former captors is one of the most eloquent expressions of Christian mercy, which sees beyond the pain of the past and opens up to the possibility of conversion and renewal. St Patrick’s mission in Ireland was characterized by an approach of kindness and understanding towards local traditions. Rather than abruptly imposing the Christian faith, Patrick integrated it with sensitivity and respect into existing cultural contexts, demonstrating a form of mercy that recognizes and values the dignity and richness of every culture. This evangelical method not only facilitated the acceptance of Christianity among the Irish people, but laid the foundation for a faith that would flourish in unique ways deeply rooted in Celtic culture. Furthermore, St. Patrick’s work is imbued with tangible acts of mercy, from caring for the poor and sick to founding monasteries that became centers of learning, spirituality, and hospitality. His vision of a Christian community where service to others is central reflects Christ’s teaching on mercy as the cornerstone of the Christian life. The life and work of Saint Patrick remind us that at the heart of the Christian mission there is mercy: a love that forgives, that understands, that becomes close to every man and woman, and that seeks to transform the world not through strength, but through the testimony of a life lived in full fidelity to the Gospel. Saint Patrick invites us to reflect on how we can be instruments of mercy in our world today, following his example of love, service and evangelization rooted in respect and love for all people.


S. Patrick, an apostle of the Gospel among the Irish people, was born in Scotland of comfortable and pious parents toward the end of the fifth century. Divine Providence, which in its arcane designs, always infinitely wise, destined Patrick for great things in the Catholic Church, arranged that he, while still a young man, torn from the bosom of his family, should be brought as a slave to Ireland. During this slavery, in which the poor young man had to feel all the bitterness of abandonment and…


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