There are a number of well known holidays that have their roots in our rich Catholic faith. Many of these holidays are celebrated differently in our modern day culture than the true Catholic roots would suggest they be celebrated or honored. St. Patrick’s Day is one such holiday. While St. Patrick’s Day is most well-known in our current culture for a day of drinking and frivolity, that is most certainly not the true importance of the day. As we form our families and raise our children, let us do our best to reclaim these important Catholic days and return them to their original glory.
Typically when a saint’s feast day falls during Lent, we may not be inclined to celebrate it as much since Lent is a season of fasting and penance. However, just because we are fasting and doing penance does not mean that we cannot honor St. Patrick, whose feast day nearly always falls in Lent.
First, it is important to learn about who St. Patrick really was. We can learn about St. Patrick through children’s movies that we can watch as a family, or even documentaries to familiarize ourselves with this great saint.
Second, we can incorporate Mass into the day. Whether you go on your own, or as a family, Mass on St. Patrick’s feast day will feature special prayers to St. Patrick, and you will likely learn even more about him during the homily. If there is a parish in your diocese named after St. Patrick, consider taking a trip to that parish on or near St. Patrick’s feast day. They may even have a parish festival you could attend and learn even more about Ireland, St. Patrick, and the history of his feast day, not to mention meeting new Catholics!
Third, we can read about St. Patrick so to understand him and be able to share about this saint with our family and friends. Whether we read the writings of St. Patrick himself, a biography about him, or even a children’s book to share with our little ones, there is much to be gained from reading about the life and miracles of St. Patrick.
Lastly, we can incorporate St. Patrick into our family prayer space. Items such as holy cards of St. Patrick, statues of St. Patrick to fix our eyes on as we pray, or Celtic crosses can all be added to our family prayer space to note the importance of this saint’s feast day on March 17th. While the liturgical color of the season is still purple for Lent, you may consider adding an Irish flag to your prayer space, or even just a green cloth in honor of St. Patrick. Consider ending the day sharing a family rosary and take turns leading a decade using an Irish rosary.
Whatever you do to honor St. Patrick in your family and home, be sure to ask this saint for his intercession in your family and for the world, that we may remember the great miracles he worked and how many souls he saved!