The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

St. Patrick's Day - 17th March, 2010

Every year we spend a lot of energy on commemorating St. Patrick's day which, in many ways, has taken on a life of it's own, quite apart from the saint whose name it bears.  Today is about more than recalling the evangelisation carried out by Patrick; it is just as much about celebrating what it means to be Irish.  This year, of course, with crises in the Church, in politics and in the economy, celebrating what it means to be Irish must be tempered with a certain amount of realism.  Being Irish is certainly a great thing but it would be naive to think that it is enough to "be" Irish.  Being Irish must also mean taking responsibility for our island and for those who live on it.

This year has seen a lot of scandal - probably more than most countries might see over several years.  We now have tribunals, reports and investigations and there is certainly a lot of people being blamed for everything from recklessness, to criminal endangerment, to downright criminal activity.  Many people are happy that issues that have obviously been underlying our society are finally being faced up to; those at fault are being sought out and are likely to be either shamed or punished.

However, our society is not the preserve of bankers or bishops or politicians or of any one group.  We, all of us, make up our society and we, all of us must be responsible for it.

It is easy to blame.  It is not so easy to step up to the plate and offer to help with solutions.  It is easy to identify individuals who are at fault.  It is not so easy to join with others in building a solution.

When St. Francis of Assisi was preaching in the streets of his native city some of the inhabitants stoned him.  He thanked them profusely for the gift of the stones and used them to build a church.  We all have a choice.  We can allow ourselves to be worn down by all of the bad news that surrounds us or we can use this time to build something new and better.

Irish people, right down through our history, have shown ourselves to be resilient and creative.  We have survived adversity after adversity.  We have what is necessary to get through this time too.  However, none of us can do it alone.  We need to appreciate and take advantage of the insights, talents, experience and commitment that surround us on all sides - sometimes that is going to demand of us that we learn to work with those we mght not have chosen to previously.

As we celebrate this St. Patrick's day let us do so in the knowledge that if we can stick together we will come through this time of uncertainty as a stronger, more united and more responsible people.  Romantic Ireland might well be dead and gone but what awaits us is a new Ireland which hopefully will be less of a Caitlin ni hOulachain and more of mother to her children.  The time for ochon go deo is over, now is the time to move forward with confidence in each other and in our possibilities - Eireann abu


Article posted on 15th of March 2010

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