Perhaps nowhere else in Christendom can an entire nation and its vast diaspora of descendants trace their Catholic Faith and culture — and their prospects for eternal salvation — to a single saint. Our debt of gratitude to Saint Patrick is immense and unmeasurable.
Saint Patrick (+461) is the Apostle of Ireland and was the first bishop and archbishop of Armagh. He is also the principal patron saint of the Archdiocese of Boston.
The feast of Saint Patrick is not “a municipal festival,” as one non-Catholic judge erroneously asserted during the Saint Patrick’s Day parade case twenty-four years ago. Nor is it merely a communal celebration of ethnic pride, as one nominally Catholic ex-state senator tried to tell us.
We commemorate the feast of our patron saint because he brought the Catholic Faith to Ireland, delivering that nation, and us, from the darkness of paganism, and showing us the fountains “that rise in the heart of Our Savior above.”
Only two Catholic organizations in Massachusetts in the last quarter of a century, the Immaculate Heart of Mary School and the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, have publicly defended the venerable name of our patron saint from sacrilegious exploitation and course trivialization by the enemies of Catholicity. The silence of our bishops, priests, deacons, and religious is a terrible betrayal, which speaks to cowardice, the loss of Faith, the desire for human respect, and the malign influence of effeminacy in the ranks of the Church.
As the contemporary forces of paganism continue their assault against the Christian character of March 17th, and attempt to deform our feast day, let us never forget that Saint Patrick’s Day is a Catholic holy day in honor of a Catholic Saint. Sancte Patrice, Ora pro nobis.
O God, You deigned to send Blessed Patrick, Your Confessor and Bishop, to preach Your glory to the Gentiles; grant by his merits and intercession, that those things which You command us to do, we may be enabled to accomplish by Your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen. (Collect of the Feast of Saint Patrick from the Missal and Breviary of Saint Pius V)
Once again, we are happy to present the good Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary School, who lightheartedly memorialized their departure from the South Boston parade with this melody to the air of “The Leaving of Liverpool,” entitled “The Leaving of Boston”: