Homily for St. Patrick’s Day 2021

Homily of Bishop Fintan Monahan
St. Patrick’s Day, 2021
Ennis Cathedral

Lá mór cheiliúradh a bhíonn againn go hiondúil ar lá fhéile Pádraig agus seolann muid beannachatí chugat ón Árd-Eaglais anseo in Inis! Déanann muid ceiliúradh agus comóradh ar lá fhéile Pádraig ar chultúr agus oidhreacht na hÉireann, An Creideamh, Ceol, Rince, Amhránaíocht, Filíocht, Teanga, chomh maith le cluichí Gaelacha, Peil, Iománaíocht, Camógaíocht, liathróid láimhe agus rudaí eile nach iad.

Where ever you are on this feast of St. Patrick, at home or abroad, I wish you the blessing of the feast day.

St. Patrick’s day, Lá Fhéile Pádraig is usually a day of great celebration. St. Patrick’s day is synonymous with parades and sporting occasions. It is a day of song, dance and a celebration of all aspects of Irish culture. It is a day when we are proud to be Irish and when people all over the world wish to be Irish for a day! This year our celebrations are restricted but the strong feelings we have in our hearts for this day are not subdued.

A Celebration of Faith
It is a day of celebrating what it means to be Irish, but it is also a day to celebrate what it means to be people of faith – Irish people who have inherited the faith of their fathers and mothers before them.

St. Patrick’s Day in Covid Times
I remember this day last year when John Kelly of the Clare Champion newspaper came here to photograph the strange phenomenon of an empty Church due to Covid-19 restrictions. We celebrated the festive Mass with no congregation and we remarked that it was an historic occasion in its own right but an historic moment we hoped we would never repeat.

A year later, we are still in that time of restriction and broadcasting our Festive Saint Patrick’s Day Mass via webcam. We are somewhat saddened that this is still the case, but we are accepting of the necessity of restrictions in order to protect lives as has been proven to date.

This global pandemic is still with us and we need to be vigilant still in our efforts to protect one another. We remember all those that have been seriously affected by the virus. We remember with sadness those who have died as a result of Covid-19.

We pray for the health and safety for all linked into this Mass today – the few who are present and all who are attending virtually via webcam today. We pray earnestly to God for protection and safety from the threat of the pandemic.

This year, people have gone to great lengths to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in the virtual sphere and have used modern technology effectively in doing so. I congratulate them for their dedication to making the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day meaningful and available for so many in these difficult times. However, we make no secret of our longing for better times ahead when we can gather together safely in person to mark this special day. We live in hope of that better day.

St. Patrick
St. Patrick’s day is about our celebration of the man Patrick who brought the treasure of the Christian faith to our land as far back as the year 432. Cuimhníonn muid ar Naomh Pádraig, guíonn muid chuige agus tugann muid omós cuí dó!

Saint Patrick himself has given us insights in to his own faith and spirituality in his writings:

He writes of a personal faith that was driven by a passionate love for Christ. We see also his love for the expression of God as Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit. On this day we reflect on that great symbol of the shamrock, so often used to explain this deep mystery of the way God relates to us. Rúndiamhar na Tríonóide! Teaghlach an ghrá á léiriú dúinn tríd an Athar, Mac agus Spiorad Naomh!

Saint Patrick in his own words gives us a great insight into his dedication to personal prayer, penance, and his humility shown in awareness of his own sinfulness as he put himself totally at the mercy of God. Guí pearsanta, úirísleacht, aithrí, trócaire Dé.

The fact that St. Patrick spent so much of his time on Croagh Patrick, Máméan and other ancient religious locations in our beautiful country shows his deep love of nature and it being a reflection of the beauty and love of God. Dúlra agus áileacht na hÉireann mar mhacalla ar Dhia!

Saint Patrick’s mission to Ireland sowed the seeds of a great missionary tradition of Irish men and women who followed his example by bringing the gospel to other lands.

Remembering our Diaspora
We remember our emigrants in a special way on this feast of Patrick. May they continue to be safe, always proud and happy to be part of what makes it special to be Irish. May they carry in their hearts and exemplify in their lives the Christian Faith that Patrick brought to these shores.

Beannachtaí na Féile
I take this opportunity to wish everyone an enjoyable day. Keep safe and well and look out for each other. Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh ar fad agus go mbeire muid beo an t-am seo arís! Áiméan.