In America, St Patrick’s Day is all about Ireland. On St Patrick’s Day revelers wear green, attend parades or eat green eggs, and announce loyalty to Ireland. But, the holiday is really a holy feast day devoted to the memory of the man who first brought the message of Christianity to the shores of Ireland. St Patrick died on March 17th and that is why the holiday is celebrated on that date.
What you may not know about St Patrick
St Patrick’s day images abound but people often know very little about this missionary priest. Here are just a few surprising facts:
1. Patrick was not Irish. Patrick was born a Roman Briton, meaning he was English.
2. Patrick was not interested in Christianity as a youth. Six years of slavery in Ireland were needed to wake up his spiritual attention and develop his relationship with God.
3. Patrick was not born with that name. He was born Mawyn Succat. Patrick was the name given him when he entered the priesthood.
4. Patrick used a three-leafed clover (shamrock) to help people understand the Holy Trinity as three-in-one. The three leaves stand for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but are one plant growing from a single stem.
5. Patrick is credited with creating the Celtic cross. Ireland was a land steeped in worship of nature and spirits when Patrick arrived. Patrick placed a sun behind the cross to help the Irish understand Christ as supreme over all.
Explaining St Patrick’s Day images to children
It is important and fun to help children understand the roots of holidays. Secular St Patrick’s day images may blur the true meaning of this day, so use ideas such as those found in this article to help children understand the history and meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.
Since the holiday commemorates the bringing of the gospel to Ireland, why not make an Irish dinner? Food is a great way to communicate other cultures. After dinner, tell the story of St Patrick – his slavery, his awareness of God, his willingness to return to the land of his former slavery so that people could hear the message of salvation. Tell the children that the Irish also had trouble understanding the gospel at first, so Patrick found ways to help them. Have children color a three-leaf clover and do what Patrick did, explain the Trinity.
St Patrick shared his faith, and so can you
St Patrick returned to a land where he had been enslaved so that people trapped in superstition and paganism could know the truth. He used words and he used practical tools to help his listeners understand his message. The Printery House has a complete selection of cards with St Patrick’s day images and messages. The Printery House also offers religious greeting cards and items with the Celtic cross and gifts with words of Irish blessing. Learn more today about these unique Christian greeting cards and gifts offered by the monks of Conception Abbey, tucked in the rolling green hills of Northwest Missouri.