This is a most joyful day that was always celebrated in my extended family in New York and in many families and communities all over the world. I think there is something about the Irish courage, wisdom, wit, humor, and victory over domination and oppression and the glorious green countryside and the warm people of Ireland, that invites music, melancholy, singing, dancing and joy. On this day everyone is just a little Irish. According to Ancestry .com and their DNA base I am about 10 percent of Irish background. But according to 23AndMe and their DNA base I am 60.9 percent British and Irish with strong roots in Counties Galway, Cork, Donegal, Clare and Mayo and also though less strongly from Kerry, Kilkenny and Dublin. I have a special love for Irish music and how much is learned and how much inherited I will never know. A distant cousin with roots from from Kilkenny was actually in communication with me two years ago. But it is hard to track down the exact roots. Yet this does not matter for on this day the world is Irish. Everyone can identify with joy and maybe, for one day, or even a little while in one day, put aside the pain of emigration, immigration, meeting with prejudice and discrimination, wars, famines and all that can kill life and that joy. God bless the Irish people for sharing their joy with all the world.
St. Patrick was the son of a noble British Romanized family born at the end of the fourth century who was captured at age 16 by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland where he worked as a lonely shepherd for 6 years before escaping and finding his way back home. While in Ireland he learned to love the Irish countryside, and culture and also became deeply committed to loving and serving Christ. After 15 years of religious study and becoming a Priest, Patrick was convinced that God called him to return to Ireland. He did so and while there was a small Christian presence already there he devoted himself to evangelizing the Irish with a respect for including Irish culture as part of his evangelization (which may well be why he was successful). Patrick gave his life to Ireland and died on 3/17 in 460AD (CE). He became a Saint by popular acclaim and the day of his death is celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, Europe, the USA and throughout the world. His is a story of God’s love overcoming “ugly”-overcoming slavery, indenture, violence, greed, oppression and domination on all sides. It is a story of the worst things people do to one another changed by and into love by Love. May we ponder his story today as we enjoy this special day.
Here is a link to his story though there are endless sources for it. https://www.britannica.com/biography/saint-patrick/
(Just click on Britannica on the page that shows up).
Above in the pretty blue hat is ARCWP BIshop Bridget Mary Meehan who was ordained as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in 2006 and ordained a Bishop in 2009. She was born in County Laois in Ireland, immigrating to the USA in 1956 with her family. Her father, Jack Meehan had a popular Irish band and filled life with music and happiness. She presides, with other women priests at the Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota Florida. Below she is with me and two of our Good Shepherd members. She is a fighter for justice and an inspiration to us all.
And God bless each and all of you on this special day. May you take some time and allow the joy even with the difficult journeys your people and you may have made in this world and the troubles you may still face. Be joyful!
(The beautiful picture below is from one of our SWFL CTA, Members-John Hancock-thank you, John.)
Love and blessings on this special day,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Rev. Dr. Judith A.B. Lee, Good Shepherd Ministries of SW FLorida