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# Thursday, March 17, 2005

It's nice when a patently Catholic holiday makes it into most secular calendars, even if it's just so that the retailers can sell green stuff and Guiness can make a few extra $$.  As fun as this day can be, let's not forget about the origination of this feast.

Here's a great article on St. Patrick. To sum up, St. Patrick was an early, perhaps the first, Catholic missionary to Ireland, circa 500 AD.  There have been many legends that have grown up around him, but suffice it to say that he took the route that made the most sense in societies in the early middle ages, i.e., to convert the political leaders, because, in those days, religion was a matter of state; if you convert the leaders, you convert the society. 

St. Patrick was successful in this, so he is credited with converting Ireland to Catholicism and has so been named the apostle and patron of Ireland.  For a variety of reasons, Ireland and the Irish, have retained a very strong Catholic identity despite (or perhaps because of) the several attempts by the English to convert and suppress them to one or other flavor of Protestantism.

The Irish brought the holiday of their primary saint and their distinct Catholic cultural identity with them over to the U.S. and the rest, as they say, is history.  So wear some green, go out and have a pint, and think about St. Patrick and how amazing it is that one person can have such a great impact on humanity.

Thursday, March 17, 2005 7:34:56 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |  Tracked by:
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