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

St. Patrick's Day (5th Sunday of Lent) - 17th March 2013

Lá Féile Pádraig. La ina bhfuil daoine ar fud an domhan ag ceiliúradh; lá ina thuigtear gach rud Eireannach mar rud speisíalta le caint, comhrá, rírá agus rúille búille. Ach cá bhfuil Pádraig?
It sometimes seems that Patrick, in some ways, has disappeared from the celebration of this day which bears his name.  This is probably because St. Patrick’s Day has become more about celebrating “Irishness” than anything else. It is about celebrating a common memory; a common dream; and a common dream.  This is no bad thing. No other country has a day in which, to the same extent, their national dream is thrown open to the rest of the world.
It can probably be argued that the Irish might need this day more than most.  No other country in Europe has experienced such dramatic changes over the past 50 years than Ireland.  This is not just a question of economic matters. The very fabric of our society has changed from rural to urban; from agricultural to industrial/ business based; from a country with a largely older population to a country with a largely young one; from bust to boom to bust again; from a position in which religion had a guaranteed place in Irish society to one in which religion has come to be seen by many as a burden or a pariah; from a mono-cultural white country to a multi-ethnic multicoloured country; from a situation of unnamed war in the North of the country to one of peace and tolerance.
To take time to reflect on our common dreams in the face of such change is a good thing. It can help to ground us and assist us in taking our bearings in these changing seas.
However, it is also timely to recall the figure of Patrick.  This foreign immigrant brought with him a message that was to transform our country.  This man who was treated harshly did not give up on us but taught us about the message of love.  These are messages that we still need to hear. Our ambiguous attitude to those who have come to live in Ireland; our willingness to listen and to learn from our new foreign immigrants needs to be reflected on and challenged.  Our facility to be resentful and unforgiving of those who have not treated us well needs to be challenged if we are to call ourselves Christian.
Some dreams are only that and are never intended to come true. Other dreams, however, represent ideals to aim for.  We know the difference between the two. As we share our common dream on this feast of our national patron, let us try to commit ourselves to making this a country in which the dreams of all are welcome, valued and encouraged.

Article posted on 16th of March 2013

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