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Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick was born in South Wales in 387 into the family of a Roman official. Aged 16 he was kidnapped

and sold into slavery in Ireland, but managed to escape by boat back to Wales six years later, and from there travelled to France, to Saint Martin's monastery in Tours, where he was ordained a priest.

The Pope came to hear of him, and gave him the name Patricius, with the commission to return to Ireland to convert the Irish (432 AD). In 455 Patrick became the primal bishop of Ireland at Ard Macha, a place not far from the seat of the Ulster Kings.

He died in March 461 A.D.

All-embracing Three-in-One, who in your providence

chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish,

to boldly confront the kingdom of darkness,

to baptise those who were lost and in error,

and to bring them into the light and truth of your Word:

give us his boldness,

keep us in that light,

and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit,

in my waking and sleeping,

go back into my memory.

Every hurt that has ever been done to me;

heal that hurt.

Every hurt that I have ever caused to another person;

heal that hurt.

I choose to forgive, and I ask to be forgiven.

Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart,

and fill the empty spaces with your Love.


Pilgrims ascending Croagh Patrick, Co.Mayo.

I thought about St. Patrick today,

After I climbed his mountain in Mayo.

That substantial shadow of light,

Rocky presence of reality

we often choose to ignore.

I thought about St. Patrick today.

I wondered if he thought

much of God as he climbed.

Or was he too busy breathing,

gasping for air as step by step

he approached the summit

to wrestle with the devil–

like me.

Was he proud or world-weary

as he sought to battle Satan?

Or was he like me– confused about his weakness, abashed at his nakedness

in the sight of God,

Wondering how to win

after failing so often?

Was he proud or world-weary

as he sought to battle Satan?

I thought about all these things,

Because I never really encounter

God directly on Croagh Patrick.

He’s there.

I feel his holiness,

But he is silent.

My suspicion is this:

It is not enough to climb this mountain.

God will not be found

Afloat on a vision

Above the waters of Clew Bay.

Through the mountain–

That’s the answer.

After all, it is a shadow, isn’t it–

A veil between the worlds.

I think St. Patrick knew this.

Because if you walk down

The mountain,

You walk into the sea.

Patrick did not do that. My suspicion is this: He turned back to the Rock,smiled and said, "It was a lovely Lent, but I have a land to fire, and a People to win for Christ. Let me pass.

And the mountain opened–after all, the hollow hills are real–and Patrick walked through the shadow and into the light, a changed man, with the fire of Christ ever before him, and the land of Ireland under his feet.

by E. Barr, Croagh Patrick, 2000.

"I arise today" – "St Patrick’s Breastplate" - attributed to St Patrick, this strong, fine prayer has got me through a few scrapes!

In 1994 Irish composer Shaun Davey put a section of the Saint Patrick’s Breastplate to some wonderful music in his CD "The Pilgrim". It is beautifully sung by Rita Connolly. Here's a link to YouTube for you to listen to it as you pray.....

I arise today, through the strength of heaven; light of sun, radiance of moon,

splendour of fire, speed of lightning, swiftness of wind, depth of the sea,

stability of earth, firmness of rock.

I arise today,

through God’s strength to pilot me;

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

from all who shall wish me ill,

afar and a-near alone

and in a multitude.

Against every cruel merciless power

that may oppose my body and soul.

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ to shield me.

Christ in the heart

of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth

of everyone who speaks of me,

I arise today.

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