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St. Patrick - Parish History

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St. Patrick

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HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK


St. Patrick's prayer for the faithful captures the wonderful spirit that made him Ireland's patron saint and one of the Church’s most beloved missionaries.  Born in Britain shortly before the 5th century, St. Patrick, pictured below, was taken captive to Ireland by raiders at the age of 16. He lived there for six years as a shepherd under harsh conditions and became intensely devoted to God in prayer, as he puts it, “because the spirit was then fervent within me.” Tradition has it that divine dreams inspired both his escape from captivity in Ireland and his return there later in his life as a bishop.


In this prayer he asks for God’s help in various ways:

May the Strength of God pilot us.

May the Power of God preserve us.

May the Wisdom of God instruct us.

May the Hand of God protect us.

May the Way of God direct us.

May the Shield of God defend us.

May the Host of God guard us.

Against the snares of the evil ones.

Against temptations of the world


May Christ be with us!

May Christ be before us!

May Christ be in us,

Christ be over all!

May Thy Salvation, Lord,

Always be ours,

This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.


St. Patrick's prayer no doubt helped him in his missionary efforts. Although he faced his share of resistance, St. Patrick was so successful in preaching the gospel and organizing the Church in Ireland that he is largely credited with converting the Irish to Christianity.


His emblems are the snakes that legends claim he drove out of Ireland and the Shamrock he used to great effect to explain the Holy Trinity.  (This is a wonderful illustration of three distinct entities, the three leaves of the clover, making up one shamrock, much like the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit constitute One God!)


St. Patrick's prayer for the faithful, much like the famous Breastplate prayer also attributed to him, can truly inspire us to ask for divine assistance in living our faith each day.  As Our Lord said in Matthew's gospel, if our requests are in accordance with His will, “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (7:6). The “Strength of God” mentioned in the first line of this prayer should give us strength indeed!


ST. PATRICK'S BREASTPLATE


St. Patrick's Breastplate is a popular prayer attributed to one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. (The term breastplate refers to a piece of armor worn in battle.)  More recent scholarship suggests its author was anonymous. In any case, this prayer certainly reflects the spirit with which St. Patrick brought our faith to Ireland! St. Patrick's Breastplate, also known as The Lorica (the cry of the deer), was popular enough to inspire a hymn based on this text as well.


I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

of the Creator of creation.


I arise today

Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,

Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.


I arise today

Through the strength of the love of cherubim,

In the obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In the prayers of patriarchs,

In the predictions of prophets,

In the preaching of apostles,

In the faith of confessors,

In the innocence of holy virgins,

In the deeds of righteous men.


I arise today, through

The strength of heaven,

The light of the sun,

The radiance of the moon,

The splendor of fire,

The speed of lightning,

The swiftness of wind,

The depth of the sea,

The stability of the earth,

The firmness of rock.


I arise today, through

God's strength to pilot me,

God's might to uphold me,

God's wisdom to guide me,

God's eye to look before me,

God's ear to hear me,

God's word to speak for me,

God's hand to guard me,

God's shield to protect me,

God's host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

afar and near.


I summon today

All these powers between me and those evils,

Against every cruel and merciless power

that may oppose my body and soul,

Against incantations of false prophets,

Against black laws of pagandom,

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;

Christ to shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.


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 in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.


I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

of the Creator of creation.