By Mel Mantanona
Throughout the year, there is one day dedicated to pinching people for not wearing a certain color. That day is St. Patrick’s Day and the color is green. On this annual feast day, many people wear green and gather at green-and-shamrock-themed parties. But where did this global festive day come from?
St. Patrick of Ireland was born in Britain in the late fourth century. When he was about 14 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates and taken as a slave to an island filled with pagans.
He remained in Ireland held in captivity for about six years and spent most of his time praying and herding sheep. Though he was a slave, his love for God kept growing every day when he was held captive.
One night, he had a dream of God telling him to leave by going to the coast. So Patrick went there, found sailors, and followed them back to Britain.
A couple of years later, Patrick had another dream. In this dream, he was handed a letter titled “The Voice of the Irish,” and the Irish were asking him to come back to them.
He started studying for the priesthood and was ordained by the Bishop of Auxerre, St. Germanus. When he was later ordained a bishop, he was sent back to Ireland to preach the Gospel.
He arrived in Ireland in 433 and went about preaching to many people and started to building churches all around the land. By the grace of God, Patrick was able to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity.
One of his most famous teachings is that of the Holy Trinity using shamrocks, a three-leaf clover that remains today the symbol and national flower of Ireland. A legend of St. Patrick recalls a miracle of him driving the snakes of Ireland out of the island and into the sea.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He died in 461 and remains one of the world’s most popular and beloved saints. His feast day is March 17.
Let us pray, through the intercession of St. Patrick, for zeal for the Holy Trinity so that our lives may radiate the love and goodness of the Lord.
Information and photo from http://www.catholic.org/saints