Saint Patrick

17th March

St. Patrick is synonymous with Ireland. However he was not born in Ireland. He was born in Britain  around the year AD 387 in a Christian family. His father was a deacon, his grandfather a priest. From his writings (Confessions of St. Patrick) it seems that Patrick’s life as a young man did not actually centre around God!

His life changed when at sixteen years old, he was snatched by a band of pirates and thieves and taken to Ireland where he was sold as a slave. For six years, he worked watching pigs, sheep and cattle, having just enough food to live, resting in small, cold huts. The people around him did not believe in God but worshipped trees and stones. It was then that Patrick opened his mind and heart to God. He started to pray. He knew that in spite of his suffering God loved him.

Then Patrick found the opportunity to escape. He travelled to Britain and France where he stayed in a monastery, deepening his relationship with God in prayer and study before becoming a priest.

In a visionary dream, Patrick heard voices calling him to go back to Ireland. With great courage, he returned to Ireland as a Bishop. His mission was to convert Ireland to Christianity. This was an immense challenge because the Irish practised pagan religions and believed in magic and evil spirits.

Patrick never lost heart. He preached everywhere and to everybody including the king. After a time he had help, as men and women started to follow him, becoming priests and nuns who set up schools and monasteries. Patrick had fulfilled God’s plan for him. He is the patron Saint of Ireland.

The Irish Catholic celebration of St. Patrick, has been transformed into a worldwide celebration of festivals wherever there is an Irish community, developing into a celebration of “Ireland’s global family” celebrating its history and culture, with colourful floats and costumes, marching bands, parades, dance and music, with green being the prominent colour.

In this panorama of colour and celebration, it is very probable that little thought is given to St. Patrick himself!
– We might make it a point to remember, when Easter, Christmas and the village feast come around to grasp an opportunity to bring up the question with the kids:
  “What are we really celebrating?”
 – We might tend to let the children get lost in presents, sweets and chocolates, entertainment, bypassing the great mysteries of our Faith.

God’s plan for Patrick was that he was to be instrumental in the conversion of Ireland to Christianity.
God has a plan for each and everyone of us as His children. It depends on us whether we accept it. He has made us special and unique, giving us qualities that will help us get closer to Him and carry out His plan.
Encourage the children to acknowledge their personal good qualities as gifts from God.
 – We can start to carry out God’s plan for us by carrying out our duties as best as we can day by day.
What is God’s plan for us for tomorrow? Let them list their duties:
wake up when called – attention to schoolwork/homework – taking Catechism lessons seriously – chores at home – prayer – Mass (on Sunday/ on other days when possible)
Share yours with them!

For Family Prayer Time

  • Lead the children to thank God for giving us people around us who continue to teach us about the Catholic Faith: our parents/guardians, teachers, other adults, good friends.
  • To pray for priests, nuns and other lay people who leave their country to preach about the love of God to those who have never heard of Him.
  • Introduce children to St. Patrick’s Breastplate, traditionally attributed to the Saint. This is a prayer of protection, in the same way that a breastplate, being a piece of armour, was used in battle for protection.

An excerpt from this prayer says:
“Christ with me, Christ before me.
Christ behind me, Christ within me.
Christ beneath  me, Christ above me. 
Christ at my right, Christ at my left.”

Make a sing-song of it and pray it with joy.

St. Patricks is one of the world’s most popular saints. Just like St. Paul is special for the Maltese society, St. Patrick is special for the Irish. As a teen he got enslaved by pagans, but he managed to escape and turned to God. He began studying for the priesthood at the age of 20. He preached throughout Ireland and converted lots of people. Patrick used the three leaves of shamrock to explain the Trinity. 

Activity: Shamrock Prayer! 

Today we will be like St. Patrick and do our own Shamrock with a twist! 

You need an A4 green cardboard paper, popsicle stick, scissors, glue and markers 

  • Draw 3 same size hearts on the green cardboard. 
  • Cut the hearts equally. 
  • Stick the hearts together. The pointed part of the hearts needs to touch together. Afterwards, stick the popsicle stick to form the shape of a shamrock leave. 
  • Draw a cross, a heart and a dove on your hearts. 
  • Write down 3 prayers:
    1. to Thank Jesus for dying for us (Cross)
    2. how you’ll be helping others (heart)
    3. to ask the Spirit for His guidance (dove)

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.