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Summary: A mid-week interactive message on St. Patrick's Day for an inner-city mission.

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[This is a mid-week interactive homily given at an inner city mission on March 8, 2016. The factual stuff about St. Patrick's Day was from Wikipedia.]

What special day is coming up very soon? It’s not necessarily a major holiday, but it’s still important to a lot of folks.

St. Patrick’s Day. What do you think of when you think of St. Patrick’s Day? Green beer? Shamrocks? 4 leaf clovers? Too much drinking?

Does anyone here have relatives in Ireland? Or family? Has anyone been there? Barbara and I visited Ireland in 2012. We stayed in Dublin, and travelled north toward Belfast.

March 17 marks the traditional death death of St. Patrick, the foremost Saint. of Ireland. It’s a public holiday in Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland (the south) and in Newfoundland and Labrador.

One group has been lobbying to have St. Patrick’s Day declared a national holiday for years. Any guesses who? The makers of Guinness beer.

Even astronauts on board the International Space Station have celebrated the festival. Irish-American Catherine Coleman played a hundred-year-old while floating weightless in the space station on Saint Patrick's Day in 2011.

Patrick was a 5th-century Roman-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. It is believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family.

His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland.

He spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he "found God".

God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.

According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity.

He spent many years evangelising in the northern half of Ireland and converted "thousands".

One account says that Patrick's efforts to convert and drive off the Celts were eventually turned into an allegory in which he drove "snakes" out of Ireland. That’s because it is believed that Ireland never had any snakes.

What colour do people wear on St. Patrick’s Day?

Green. St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.

There has been a parade held in Toronto since at least 1863. The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927, and wore green jerseys.

In 1999, when the Maple Leafs played on Saint Patrick's Day, they wore green Saint Patrick's retro uniforms.

There is a large parade in our downtown core on Sunday prior to 17 March which attracts over 100,000 spectators

Here’s a quote I found that I thought was good for us to hear today: “St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time - a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic”. ~Adrienne Cook

Spring is around the corner. They’re saying all of March is going to be nice weather. What hopes do you have for the Spring? It’s a good time to dream about new ideas, new directions. Spiritually too, it can be a time to think about renewal; doing things differently, not staying with the same old same old.


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