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St Patrick's is not just about leprechauns

For most people, St Patrick's Day, March 17, is a day of parades, parties, leprechauns and green beer. But just as Christmas is about more than commercialised fun, so, too, does St Patrick's Day have a deeper meaning.

St Patrick's Day began as a religious holiday honouring St Patrick - a holy bishop sent to Ireland in 432 AD by Pope Celestine I to draw its people into the fold of Christ's universal church.

Upon his arrival on Ireland's shores, St Patrick encountered many setbacks and persecutions by superstitious druids.

In spite of severe trials, St Patrick was able to convert all of Ireland and conquer paganism. He is thus credited with driving the Celtic 'snakes' out of Ireland.

St Patrick is credited with many miracles and is responsible for the building of several Catholic schools, monasteries and churches throughout Ireland.

He is known for his powerful expositions of the principles of the Catholic faith.

He even employed the ordinary, little, three-leaved shamrock plant to teach people about the Blessed Trinity.

St Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose total love, devotion and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us.


Ontario, Canada

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From Belfast Telegraph