Saturday, 17 March 2007

St. Patrick's Day

Three Cheers fer ole Sain Pahrick! Last night Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue, Cork born and bred, came from his diocese of Lancaster to celebrate the St. Patrick's vigil Mass in our parish, and was met with quite a turnout, not least the eight other priests who concelebrated. It seems to have become quite a tradition in the parish, especially as shamrock is blessed and distributed after the Mass, and the hymns are nostalgically Irish:

On Erin's green valleys,
On Erin's green valleys,
On Erin's green valleys
Look down in thy love.

After Mass we had a buffet in the parish room in which some slightly dubious characters managed to slip in...

St. Patrick was born at the end of the 4th century and taken into captivity in Ireland where he tended his master's sheep and learned the love of God through spending his time alone praying. He later became bishop of Ireland and converted the pagans to Christanity. Tradition has it that he explained the concept of the Trinity to them using a shamrock: one branch for one God, three leaves for three persons. We students did the same today, as after silent Rosary around the square and then Mass, we went in groups to give out blessed shamrocks to those in and around the square. Many parishioners and locals knew something about St. Patrick and the shamrock. We had some good conversations amongst us, especially with lapsed Irish Catholics.

In the evening we went to a St. Patrick's night in St. Mary and St. Michael's parish where some of us live - the parish is and always has been one with a large Irish presence. We had great fun dancing, keeping in mind that tomorrow we're going to talk to a group of schoolkids at Ealing Abbey. Keep us in your prayers!

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