Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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St Patrick

Saturday, March 17, 2012
Readings: 1 Peter 4:7-11; Psalm 96:1- 10; Luke 5:1-11

Of all patron saints, perhaps St Patrick is the most emblematic. Today is the one day of the year in which we celebrate all things Irish. The fact we do this on the feast day of a Catholic saint is a reminder of the great influence Catholicism has had on the Irish identity. But also St Patrick's day is an opportunity to remember the influence the Irish identity has had on Catholicism. St Patrick's missionary spirit continued for centuries after his death and has left an indelible mark on the Church throughout the world. It was Irish missionaries who popularized the penitential practice of private confession. Celtic monks were instrumental in spreading the Gospel in Western Europe and laying the foundations of medieval monastic culture. From the 16th Century, the Catholic Church in Ireland suffered terrible persecution, but generation after generation held firm to the Faith and so lead the way to a Catholic revival in the 19th Century. As the Irish people have spread throughout the world, they have taken their faith with them. The fact that my family is Catholic is because my great great grandfather fell in love with an Irish lass for Cork.

The difficulties the Catholic Church in Ireland faces today shouldn't make us forget the great debt we owe to St Patrick. The account of his call to evangelise the Irish should give us hope for the future:
I was in Britain with my family. And there I saw in a vision of the night, a man coming as it were from Ireland, with countless letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letters, which ran “the voice of the Irish”; and as I was reading the beginning of the letter aloud I thought I heard at that very moment the voice of those who lived beside the wood of Voclut, which is near the Western sea, and thus they cried out as with one voice: “we beg you, holy youth, to come and walk once more among us”.

With the knowledge of St Patrick's willingness to respond to this call and of the deep love the Irish have for him, we can trust that through the prayers of St Patrick, God will continue to call Holy people to preach the Gospel to the people of Ireland.

Robert Verrill OP

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