St. Patrick Was a Welshman Who Ministered to the Irish!

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day!  Festivities and mirth abound, awash amidst parades and parties and all-things green.  Leprechauns play mischievous havoc with abandon, and little girls perform riverdance sequences while old men dance jigs.  “We are,” to borrow from famous phraseology, “all Irishmen” on such a delightful day!


And, for the love of Pete, he wasn’t even Irish!  He was, determinative by whom you are attending, a Breton or a Scot or (my preference; mind you) a Welshman.  He took the Gospel to the Irish, evangelizing and ministering to them, but he was called amongst them from elsewhere.


He wasn’t even a saint, at least not in the formalized sense of having been so canonized by Roman ecclesiastical authority.  But he was one of the saints – clearly; one of the most saintly – in purely biblical terms.  He’ll be awaiting us at the pearly gates when our time comes; no doubt!


And he didn’t drive the snakes off of the island, as legend has it.  Let every Irish lad or lassie be grateful for the blessed fact that snakes are not indigenous to their splendid isle, as they were apparently and blessedly never there in the first place.  He would have had to reckon with spiritual snakes; to be sure – and they are much worse, but the Spirit of Christ, being greater still, prevailed through Him.


Patrick was transported to the Emerald Isle as a slave when he was sixteen.  A Druid priest was his slave-master.  He spent six long years in such a capacity; escaping by ship, he studied in France and England, became a bishop at 43 and returned to Ireland when He came under conviction during a dream that God wanted him to return to Ireland.


He did and, for thirty years until his death in A.D. 461 at 72, ministered and evangelized amongst our Celtic friends.  He apparently performed miracles, thereby de-legitimizing the opposition of the Druid priests and gaining the attention of the people.  He ordained priests, built monasteries and was overall instrumental in planting the Gospel on Irish soil and in Irish hearts – Not bad for a life’s work; eh!


Legend has it that Patrick made use of the three-leafed plant known as the shamrock to help in his explanation of the Christian Trinity.  It’s as good a try as any, and for excellent reason the shamrock became the national emblem. 


It is now an excellent prayer that the Irish people, especially the young, now turn back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The leprechauns hold their place in Celtic lore, but Christ, utilizing the saintly likes of Patrick in His service, holds all things in His hands.  I would deny no one “the luck of the Irish,” but wish everyone “the love of Christ.”  Enjoy!


Bradley E. Lacey

March 2017