Thursday 17 March is the Feast of Saint Patrick, Principal Patron of Ireland. Here are some resources for use in parishes.
Bishops encourage prayers for peace on Saint Patrick’s Day
At their Spring General Meeting in Maynooth, the bishops expressed support for the many prayer initiatives for peace in recent days. Given the importance of the national feast of Saint Patrick, they invited parishes to reach out on that day in a special way to the Ukrainian people living in Ireland and around the world, sending greetings of prayer and solidarity to them in this time of anguish. At the ‘sign of peace’ at Mass on that day, and for the remainder of Lent, bishops ask priests to call for peace in the world and especially in Ukraine and, after a moment of silence, to invite everyone to offer a gesture or greeting of peace (without the handshake), holding in prayer all who are caught up in this conflict:
Prayer for the People of Ukraine
We pray for the people of Ukraine,
For all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world; that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity
to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways
so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine
and for all the world.
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
Our Lady of Kyiv, pray for us!
Remembering Our Emigrants on Saint Patrick’s Day 2022 – Resources from the Bishops’ Council for Emigrants
As a Church and a people, we must continue to reach out to those who are affected by emigration. We remember and pray for all Irish people overseas; those who are recently departed and those who left our shores many years ago. We remember the families they have left behind and pray they will find strength and comfort as they cope with the pain of separation. We also think of those who have travelled from foreign lands to begin new lives in Ireland and pray that they receive the same welcome that we would wish for our own emigrants far from home.
Since 1957, the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants (IECE) has been responding to the needs of Irish emigrants around the world. It continues to do so through the work of its pastoral centres in the United States and the UK, which provide myriad services to the most vulnerable members of the Irish emigrant community. It also does so by providing grants to
other like-minded organisations that provide targeted and specialist support to discrete categories of vulnerable emigrants – from the aged and lonely to those with addiction and mental health problems.
I wish to thank all those who generously support the collection for emigrants each year. This funding allows us to offer essential support to those organisations providing pastoral, practical outreach to the most marginalised and vulnerable groups of Irish people, many of whom are living lives of quiet desperation.
Bishop Paul Dempsey, Bishop of Achonry
Chair of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants
The following Liturgical Resources are available from the Bishops’ Council for Emigrants for those parishes and dioceses hosting an emigrant collection:
See prayer resources below.
Homilies and Messages for Saint Patrick’s Day 2022
These will be available closer to the date itself and will be shared here.
Saint Patrick the Migrant
“Saint Patrick is so emblazoned with symbols of his Irishness that we forget he is an immigrant to Ireland. Not unlike the Holy Family and many families today, he was an undocumented migrant, a refugee, a slave, a member of a diaspora and a returnee. Yet somehow he transcended all of these categories and made himself ‘one of us’. I often wonder how Saint Patrick would describe himself. Did he see himself as a constant migrant, did he come back to Ireland because he felt an affinity with the people? Was he just aware of the fluidity of the world of his time, prompted by trade and transport not unlike globalisation today? Did he feel constrained in his own place among his family and community? Was he just plain restless? Did his early experience of slavery make him restless for other things? Was he someone who rose above tribal identity and found his identity in his work and his belief?”
Father Alan Hilliard
Lúireach Phádraig (Saint Patrick’s Breastplate)
Watch a short video of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate or Lúireach Phádraig as it is known in the Irish language. The music and the arrangement are by Sister Marie Dunne CHF, a Holy Faith Sister from Dublin. The soloist on this piece is Patricia Bourke D’Souza.
Saint Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ below me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left hand,
Christ in my sleeping,
Christ in my waking,
Christ in the heart of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouth of all who speak of me,
Christ in every eye that looks at me,
Christ in every ear that listens to me.
Críost i mo dhiaidh,
Críost istigh ionam,
Críost os mo chionn,
Críost ar mo lámh dheas,
Críost ar mo lámh chlé,
Críost i mo lúi dom,
Críost i mo sheasamh dom,
Críost i gcrói gach duine atá ag cuimhneamh orm,
Críost i mbéal gach duine a labhráionn lom,
Críost i ngach súil a fhéachann orm,
Críost i ngach cluas a éisteann liom.
Prayers & Reflections
“May the Virgin Mother, who together with her Blessed Son knew the pain of emigration and exile, help us to understand the experience, and very often the drama, of those who are compelled to live far from their homeland, and teach us to serve them in their necessities, truly accepting them as brothers and sisters, so that today’s migrations may be considered a call, albeit a mysterious one, to the Kingdom of God, which is already present in His Church, its beginning, and an instrument of Providence to further the unity of the human family and peace.”
(Erga migrantes caritas Christi, Vatican City 20004, para 77)
A Prayer for Those Away from Home
we pray for those whom we love,
but who are absent from us.
Keep them safe from all harm, evil and danger.
Bless them with peace, laughter,
wisdom, love and joy.
Grant that we may be reunited in the fullness of love;
in Christ’s name we pray.
From Prayers of our Hearts by Vienna Cobb Anderson
A Prayer for our Irish Emigrants
some may know the bleakness of life,
its capacity to disappoint,
the waning of energy or health.
Yet they have a place in the soul which time cannot touch,
a wisdom and beauty from lives deeply inhabited.
May all of them know the warmth of their soul,
the natural shelter around their lives.
In dignity and freedom,
may they return home to themselves.
A Prayer for Immigrants
Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ.
You crossed every border between Divinity
and humanity to make your home with us.
Help us to welcome you in newcomers, migrants
Blessed are You, God of all nations.
You bless our land richly with goods of creation
and with people made in your image.
Help us to be good stewards and peacemakers,
who live as your children.
Blessed are You, Holy Spirit.
You work in the hearts of all
to bring about harmony and goodwill.
Strengthen us to welcome those from other lands,
that we may live in human solidarity and in hope.
God of all people,
grant us vision to see your presence in our midst,
especially in our immigrant sisters and brothers.
Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors
and grace to build a society of justice.
Source: Pax Christi
The Prayer of Saint Columba
Be a bright flame before me, O God
a guiding star above me.
Be a smooth path below me,
a kindly shepherd behind me
today, tonight, and for ever.
Alone with none but you, my God
I journey on my way;
what need I fear when you are near,
O Lord of night and day?
More secure am I within your hand
than if a multitude did round me stand.
This prayer, attributed to St Brendan, is one of profound trust in God. Brendan launches out into deep waters, in his fragile boat, leaving his homeland to journey to foreign lands. As we pray this prayer, let us be mindful of all those who are ‘letting go’ of what is familiar, and moving into the unknown.
Let us pray together.
Beyond these shores
Into the darkness
Beyond these shores
This boat may sail
And if this is the way
Then there will be
A path across this sea.
And if I sail beyond
The farthest ocean
Or lose myself
in the depths below
Wherever I may go
Your love surrounds me
For You have been
before Beyond these shores.
Books about the life of Saint Patrick from Veritas
Veritas Publications has a number of books and other resources available on Saint Patrick:
The Story of Saint Patrick by James Dooley
Learn about Patrick’s childhood in Wales, his years spent as a slave in County Antrim, and his triumphant mission to bring the good news of God’s mercy to the people of Ireland.
Explore how his simple message of love inspired all who knew him and how, even today, people follow in his footsteps by climbing to the top of Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick.
Suitable for children aged seven to eleven.
Click here for more information.
Patrick in His Own Words by Bishop Joseph Duffy
This book presents St Patrick, using his own words, as a marvellous human being, who faced the mystery of life and death with exemplary courage and refreshing honesty. It answers a growing demand today for more sharing of faith from direct personal experience. Patrick wrote deliberately for those who came after him, for people like ourselves, that we might know what kind of man he was. As result he has described a personality and any of us would want to claim as a friend.
In recent years scholars have tended to move away from the sterile study of the saints chronology and the precise location of his mission, and have become more concerned with exploring his background in more general and comprehensive way. A secondary purpose of this book is to bring their last insights to wider public and to suggest some new connections.
Patrick’s original Latin and new translation into Latin are included.
This book was the first ever title published by Veritas in the 1970s.