DONATE TO JCE NEWS

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: THURS. MAR. 17, 2011









CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: THURS. MAR. 17, 2011: HEADLINES-

ASIA: JAPAN: BISHOPS CALL FOR FINANCIAL AID AND SHELTER FOR VICTIMS OF QUAKE

EUROPE: IRELAND: MESSAGE FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY FROM IRISH BISHOPS

AMERICA: USA: BISHOPS CALL FOR PRAYERS AND AID FOR JAPAN'S QUAKE VICTIMS

AFRICA: IVORY COAST: SISTERS TRY TO HELP MAINTAIN CALM AMIDST FIGHTING

AUSTRALIA: QUINLAN CALLS FOR HELP OF THE DISADVANTAGED

TODAY'S SAINT: MAR. 17: ST. PATRICK

2011

CARDINAL MAZOMBWE TO TAKE POSSESSION OF TITULAR CHURCH

VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 6 p.m. on Saturday 26 March Cardinal Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, archbishop emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, will take possession of the title of St. Emerentiana at Tor Fiorenza, Via Lucrino 53, Rome.

OCL/ VIS 20110317 (60) (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

IN MEMORIAM

VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Juan Garcia-Santacruz Ortiz of Guadix, Spain, on 12 March at the age of 78.

- Bishop Oswald Georg Hirmer, emeritus of Umtata, South Africa, on 5 March at the age of 81.

ASIA: JAPAN: BISHOPS CALL FOR FINANCIAL AID AND SHELTER FOR VICTIMS OF QUAKE

ASIA NEWS REPORT: The centre is based in Sendai, in the areas affected by the tsunami. Message from the Bishop of Sendai. The diocese also reports children dead in kindergartens, churches destroyed and damaged. Families offer hospitality to the homeless elderly. Shelters without water, electricity, fuel, medicine, causing physical and mental fatigue of the displaced.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Japanese Catholic Church today opened an aid centre for survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The centre has its headquarters in the Cathedral of Sendai, one of the worst affected areas. The bishops are calling on the faithful to raise funds, but also offer shelter to the homeless.

Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. David Uribe, provincial superior of the Missionaries of Guadalupe in Japan, confirmed to that already this morning, five Japanese families in Tokyo expressed their willingness to accommodate, survivors of the disaster, especially the elderly, in their homes for as long as necessary.

The aid centre, opened today, is managed by the Bishop of Sendai, Mgr. Martin Hiraga, the Bishop of Niigata, Mgr. Tarcisius Kikuchi, the Bishop of Saitama, Mgr. Marcellino Tani and Caritas Japan. Its remit is to raise funds that will go to thousands of people affected by the tsunami.

Marking the launch Mgr. Hiraga today sent a message expressing his sadness for the destruction caused by the earthquake and tidal wave, which has so far left over 15 thousand people dead or missing. The powerful earthquake devastated four provinces that form the area of the diocese of Sendai: Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

In his message, the bishop invites every Christian to become involved in this charitable initiative and help those who have lost everything. He also recalls that in these difficult times is important not to forget the infinite mercy of God The Catholic Church in Japan is made up of about 500 thousand believers, a disproportionate group in comparison to the huge number of people affected by the disaster. The bishop hoped, however, that even the smallest act of charity will help many people.

In the north-east of the country, destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, there are about half a million homeless, housed in makeshift centres. The situation of the survivors is critical: they lack water, electricity and fuel (diesel and oil), medicine and many essential items. The shortage in basic necessities and lack of immediate prospects, is provoking great physical and mental fatigue among the displaced. According to some estimates, it will take at least 10 years and investments in excess of those used after the Kobe earthquake of 1995 (almost 160 billion U.S. dollars) to return to a normal way of life in the affected areas.

The chancellor of the diocese of Sendai, Fr. Peter Komastu, also announced the first figures regarding Catholic face of the disaster. He confirmed that an unspecified number of children, pupils of the Catholic Diocesan kindergarten, lost their lives. Moreover, the structures damaged by earthquake and tsunami include: in the province of Iwate, the first floor of the Kamaishi parish, in the province of Myagi, serious damage to the parishes of Furukawa and Stukidate; the parish of Kesenuma has been damaged and its kindergarten is currently being used as makeshift accommodation for the displaced. Finally, all the parishes of the south coast of Fukushima (in the area of the nuclear power plant currently at risk) were destroyed by the tsunami.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Japanese-Church-launches-aid-centre-for-tsunami-victims-21058.html


EUROPE: IRELAND: MESSAGE FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY FROM IRISH BISHOPS

IRISH BISHOP'S CONFERENCE: Message for St. Patrick’s Day 2011 from Bishop Séamus Hegarty,

Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Emigrants

On this day I wish to commend the work of our emigrant chaplaincies and all who provide support to Irish emigrants. Inspired by the teaching of the Gospel, they provide essential pastoral outreach to many Irish people as they try to establish a foothold in a new society. – Bishop Hegarty

St Patrick’s Day, Lá le Pádraig, is a special day for the Irish at home and abroad. On this the Feast of our National Apostle, I send warm greetings to all Irish people wherever they are and to all who join in this celebration, including the many immigrants to our own shores. Saint Patrick first encountered Ireland as a migrant. Thus, it is fitting that on his Feast Day, and at a time when we face challenges in Ireland and beyond, we again seek to highlight the needs of the many Irish emigrants spread throughout the world.

Today, we pray especially for all who travel in search of hope and blessing. We think particularly of our own people who have found new lives in far flung shores. May they, like so many people in Scripture, and in the previous generations before them, discover the rich mystery of God’s salvific purpose and know the peace and support that Saint Patrick found for his life. We also thank God for the blessings that are bestowed on our land by the presence of so many people from the many countries, backgrounds and traditions that we are privileged to witness in everyday life.

For every emigrant abroad there are parents, siblings, friends and their local communities, who miss them greatly. The haemorrhage of so many of our young people and many others who have emigrated in their thousands to Australia, Canada, Britain and many to the United States, is an immeasurable deficit in family, community and national resources. It is to be hoped that the newly elected Coalition Government will do all that it can, as soon as possible, to create and renew the economy and thereby generate employment in the hope of repatriating some of our people who reluctantly had to emigrate.

There are a multitude of factors that can push people away from the bosom of their families, communities and parishes as they seek hope and fresh opportunities abroad. The majority of migrants are fortunate enough to find profitable work and supportive social structures that provide assistance on their path towards integration and contentment. However, in our changing world it is becoming increasingly more difficult for people to find the same foothold, as noted in the document Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi. The document states that globalisation has ‘flung markets wide open but not frontiers, has demolished boundaries for the free circulation of information and capital, but not to the same extent for the free circulation of people’.[1]

We know that many of today’s emigrants are, in some ways, better equipped then those of previous generations. However, it would be incorrect to think that these advances could in some way address the needs of the whole person. A person’s faith can take on a special significance when living far from home. It provides a wonderful opportunity for migrants to come together with others to worship, it creates a strong bond and a supportive network to soften, to some extent, the isolation of emigration. While their circumstances and locations may change, God’s love is a constant for them to hold on to.

For those contemplating the difficult prospect of emigrating or for those looking to spend time travelling overseas – even for a short period – it is essential to be prepared, to go with the necessary information and realistic ideas about how to make ends meet. Thankfully, pre-departure information is much more readily available today than in years past.

I am keenly aware of the great work undertaken by Irish emigrant chaplaincies in Britain, the United States and Australia. Inspired by the teaching of the Gospel, they provide essential pastoral outreach to many Irish people as they try to establish a foothold in a new society. On this day I wish to commend the work of our emigrant chaplaincies and all who provide support to Irish emigrants.

The hospitality of the Gospel is directed at those who are vulnerable and are in need. Therefore, we must never lose sight of, or forget, those emigrants whose journey has been a difficult one. For a multitude of reasons, some Irish emigrants today can still find themselves isolated, vulnerable and alone. Mindful of their generosity to their homeland in years past, it is right that we, as a State, a Church and a people, look to support them and to travel with them, whenever possible, on all stages of their emigrant journey.

We must continue to support the elderly members of the Irish emigrant community, in Britain and elsewhere. Earlier this year we learned that some Irish people were still being buried in communal graves in London, without loved ones to comfort them at the time of their passing or to care for their remains. I gratefully acknowledge the work of the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain in highlighting this issue and their ongoing work, and the work of other organisations, in reaching out to the elderly Irish community.

At this time of increasing outward migration, the work of the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas takes on added significance. They provide a vital service and ongoing support, which helps to ease the burden facing prisoners and their families alike.

I encourage the new Government to work with its counterparts in the United States to find a way to manage new migration flows between the two countries. In saying that, we must never overlook the difficult situation currently being experienced by some 50,000 undocumented Irish people currently living there. This matter will not go away and a responsible and considered solution must be found. Having met with many Irish emigrants in the U.S. over the years, I constantly recall the heartbreak, the loneliness and the yearning which they have for home. It is only by meeting with them that one can appreciate their plight.

I strongly encourage the new Government, in spite of a challenging economic climate, to maintain its financial support for the various welfare organisations, at home and abroad, which care for vulnerable and isolated members of our diaspora and provide essential services, to this State and its people. I wish the new Government every success. It is hoped that the economy will recover sufficiently to enable some emigrants who reluctantly had to emigrate, to return home.

May our vulnerable emigrants tangibly benefit from the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to all God’s people to: ‘love to the full without making any kind of distinction and without discrimination, in the conviction that any one who needs us and whom we can help is our neighbour (cf. Deus Caritas Est, n. 15). May the teaching and example of St Paul, a great and humble Apostle and a migrant, an evangelizer of peoples and cultures, spur us to understand that the exercise of charity is the culmination and synthesis of the whole of Christian life.’[2]

While many at this time may feel discouraged or disheartened, I draw comfort from the words of the late Pope John Paul II who in describing the land of Saint Patrick, said:

‘Modern Ireland was founded on a vision of a society capable of responding to the deepest aspirations of its people and ensuring respect for the dignity and rights of all its citizens. That vision is linked to a profound yearning for the effective realisation of the profound human values that have never ceased to resound in the minds and hearts of the Irish people.[3]

Guím idirghuí Naomh Pádraig ar ár lucht imirce scaite ar fud na cruinne. Ba dheoraí Naomh Pádraig é féin tráth. Tuigeann sé ar n’uaigneas agus ar m’briseadh chroí. Guím beannacht, ráth agus séan ár bPatrúin oraibh uilig.

+Séamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry

Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Emigrants

[1] Erga migrantes caritas Christi (The love of Christ towards migrants) Vatican City, 2004.

[2] Taken from the Message of his Holiness Benedict XVI for the 95th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2009). Theme: St Paul migrant, ‘Apostle of the peoples’.

[3] Taken from the address of his Holiness John Paul II to H.E. Mr Patrick Hillery, President of the Republic of Ireland, 20 April 1989.

Further information:

Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444

http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2011/03/16/16-march-2011-message-st-patricks-day-2011-bishop-seamus-hegarty/

AMERICA: USA: BISHOPS CALL FOR PRAYERS AND AID FOR JAPAN'S QUAKE VICTIMS

USCCB REPORT: Bishops Voice Solidarity with Japan, Urge Catholics to Support Efforts of Catholic Relief Services Following Earthquake

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2011)—Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), expressed the prayers and solidarity of the U.S. bishops and Catholic for the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake.

In his March 14 letter to Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga, SJ, of Osaka, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, Archbishop Dolan said the “estimates of suffering, loss of life and physical damage challenge our ability to grasp the reality of such an event.”

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the humanitarian agency of the U.S. bishops, is responding to the tragedy and receiving donations, said Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, chairman of the CRS board.

“These will be used for the immediate humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable and support the local Catholic Church in its on-going mission,” said Bishop Kicanas. Catholics interested in supporting the work of CRS can visit: http://crs.org/

The full text of Archbishop Dolan’s letter follows:

Dear Archbishop Ikenaga,

I write today conscious of the terrible earthquake that has struck Japan. The first news reports of the preliminary estimates of suffering, loss of life and physical damage challenge our ability to grasp the reality of such a massive event.

My letter is to make a first contact with you to assure you of the prayers and solidarity of the bishops and faithful in the United States at this difficult moment. We commend the Church and the people of Japan to the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, asking her to care for all of those left in conditions of suffering because of the quake and the aftershocks.

I know that our Catholic Relief Services has already been in touch with Caritas in Japan. They are already studying the situation with the goal of being as helpful as possible in responding to the tragedy.

Again, Archbishop Okada, please know of our prayers and solidarity with you at this moment.
Faithfully in Christ,

Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2011/11-052.shtml

AFRICA: IVORY COAST: SISTERS TRY TO HELP MAINTAIN CALM AMIDST FIGHTING

Agenzia Fides REPORT - “In our part of Abobo, the situation is a little calmer, even if the area is controlled by the so-called 'invisible commando',” says Sister Rosaria to Fides, from the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto, speaking from Abobo, in Abidjan where fighting continues between those loyal to the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, and members of the so-called “invisible commando”, a group that boasts some supporters of President-elect Alassane Ouattara. “In other areas of Abobo the situation is more tense,” Sister Rosaria continues. “For example, since yesterday in Williamsville people have been blocked inside their homes. Even the streets are blocked in some cases.”
The rebels seem to have made some steps forward. The barracks of the Adjamé gendarmerie was conquered by the guerrillas. The clashes are moving into other areas of Abidjan, such as the town of Yopougon. “Our situation is like that of the rest of the population,” said Sister Rosaria. “We are close to the people, trying to cheer them up. Our presence is already a form of aid, for our serenity, even though not always easy to maintain, helps people to endure this situation.”
Another congregation, the Sisters of Providence, were forced to abandon their house in Abobo, as a result of the military attacks and violent clashes going on over several days. In the looting of their mission the sisters lost two vehicles and other property.

AUSTRALIA: QUINLAN CALLS FOR HELP OF THE DISADVANTAGED

CATH NEWS REPORT: If we want to give extremely disadvantaged people a better opportunity to live a decent life, we need to do more than threaten them with destitution, Cath­olic Social Services Australia executive director Frank Quinlan told The Catholic Weekly.


The Australian
had reported that the opposition's treas­ury spokesman, Joe Hockey, canvassed a change in Coalition policy to give Centrelink case workers power to quarantine welfare payments to families."We need to offer practical help with problems they can't solve on their own," he said. "Providing opportunity is about more than providing money."

In a speech to the Sydney Institute last week, Mr Hockey argued that income management – now only in select communities – should be rolled out nationally where children may be at risk from parental drug abuse, gambling and other lifestyle choices.

Mr Hockey said case workers "should also have the capacity to consider the extension of income management – the control of welfare payments through quarantining and direct pay schemes – where they believe that it is warranted".

"A system that encourages reliance on welfare is an addiction that becomes difficult to escape," Mr Hockey said.

Mr Hockey said to reduce the potential for long-term welfare dependency, there needed to be an evaluation of the support structures available to those who had been on handouts for years.

"In this regard, we need to look at the provision of intensive case management for those that have been receiving payments like Newstart or, where appropriate, the Disability Support Pension, for extended periods," he said.

Mr Quinlan said: "The Shadow Treasurer is on the right track when he said 'we need to look at the provision of intensive case management for those that have been receiving payments like Newstart or, where appropriate, the Disability Support Pension, for extended periods'.

"However, we need to look at exactly what 'intensive case management means' and what the purpose of that intensive case management is."

"(In) an overburdened welfare to work system, case management is often focused on getting people to keep applying for jobs by threatening to cut them off income support if they stop and not on addressing the issues at the heart of the problem. Unless we can address the underlying problems, the cycle of disadvantage will continue."

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=25507

TODAY'S SAINT: MAR. 17: ST. PATRICK

St. Patrick

PATRON SAINT OF IRELAND

Feast: March 17
EWTN:



Information:

Feast Day:March 17
Born:

between 387 and 390 at Scotland

Died:between 461 and 464 at Saul, County Down, Ireland
Patron of:Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, New York, Boston, Engineers, against snakes

The field of St. Patrick's labors was the most remote part of the then known world. The seed he planted in faraway Ireland, which before his time was largely pagan, bore a rich harvest: whole colonies of saints and missionaries were to rise up after him to serve the Irish Church and to carry Christianity to other lands. Whether his birthplace, a village called Bannavem Taberniae, was near Dunbarton-on-the-Clyde, or in Cumberland, or at the mouth of the Severn, or even in Gaul near Boulogne, has never been determined, and indeed the matter is of no great moment. We know of a certainty that Patrick was of Romano-British origin, and born about the year 389. His father, Calpurnius, was a deacon, his grandfather a priest, for at this time no strict law of celibacy had been imposed on the Christian clergy. Patrick's own full name was probably Patricius Magonus Sucatus.

His brief gives us a few details of his early years. At the age of fifteen he committed some fault—what it was we are not told—which caused him much suffering for the rest of his life. At sixteen, he tells us, he still "knew not the true God." Since he was born into a Christian family, we may take this to mean that he gave little heed to religion or to the priests. That same year Patrick and some others were seized and carried off by sea raiders to become slaves among the inhabitants of Ireland. Formerly it was believed that his six years of captivity were spent near Ballymena in County Antrim, on the slopes of the mountain now called Slemish, but later opinion names Fochlad, or Focluth, on the coast of Mayo. If the latter view is correct, then Croachan Aigli or Croag Patrick, the scene of his prolonged fast, was also the mountain on which in his youth he lived alone with God, tending his master's herds of swine or cattle. Wherever it was, he tells us him self that "constantly I used to pray in the daytime. Love of God and His fear increased more and more, and my faith grew and my spirit was stirred up, so that in a single day I said as many as a hundred prayers and at night nearly as many, and I used to stay out in the woods and on the mountain. Before the dawn I used to wake up to prayer, in snow and frost and rain, nor was there any such lukewarmness in me as now I feel, because then my spirit was fervent within."

At length he heard a voice in his sleep bidding him to get back to freedom and the land of his birth. Thus prompted, he ran away from his master and traveled to a harbor where a ship was about to depart. The captain at first refused his request for passage, but after Patrick had silently prayed to God, the pagan sailors called him back, and with them he made an adventurous journey. They were three days at sea, and when they reached land they traveled for a month through an uninhabited tract of country, where food was scarce. Patrick writes:

"And one day the shipmaster said to me: 'How is this, O Christian? Thou sayest that thy God is great and almighty; wherefore then canst thou not pray for us, for we are in danger of starvation? Likely we shall never see a human being again.' Then I said plainly to them: 'Turn in good faith and with all your heart to the Lord my God, to whom nothing is impossible, that this day He may send you food for your journey, until ye be satisfied, for He has abundance everywhere.' And, by the help of God, so it came to pass. Lo, a herd of swine appeared in the way before our eyes, and they killed many of them. And in that place they remained two nights; and they were well refreshed and their dogs were sated, for many of them had fainted and been left half- dead by the way. After this they rendered hearty thanks to God, and I became honorable in their eyes; and from that day they had food in abundance."

At length they arrived at human habitations, whether in Britain or Gaul we do not know. When Patrick was again restored to his kinfolk, they gave him a warm welcome and urged him to stay. But he felt he must leave them. Although there is no certainty as to the order of events which followed, it seems likely that Patrick now spent many years in Gaul. Professor Bury, author of the well-known , thinks that the saint stayed for three years at the monastery of Lerins, on a small islet off the coast of modern Cannes, France, and that about fifteen years were passed at the monastery of Auxerre, where he was ordained. Patrick's later prestige and authority indicate that he was prepared for his task with great thoroughness.

We now come to Patrick's apostolate. At this time Pelagianism[1] was spreading among the weak and scattered Christian communities of Britain and Ireland, and Pope Celestine I had sent Bishop Palladius there to combat it. This missionary was killed among the Scots in North Britain, and Bishop Germanus of Auxerre recommended the appointment of Patrick to replace him. Patrick was consecrated in 432, and departed forthwith for Ireland. When we try to trace the course of his labors in the land of his former captivity, we are confused by the contradictory accounts of his biographers; all are marked by a great deal of vagueness as to geography and chronology. According to tradition, he landed at Inverdea, at the mouth of the river Vautry, and immediately proceeded northwards. One chronicler relates that when he was again in the vicinity of the place where he had been a herdboy, the master who had held him captive, on hearing of Patrick's return, set fire to his house and perished in the flames. There is historical basis for the tradition of Patrick's preliminary stay in Ulster, and his founding of a monastic center there. It was at this time that he set out to gain the support and favor of the powerful pagan King Laeghaire, who was holding court at Tara. The stories of Patrick's encounter with the king's Druid priests are probably an accretion of later years; we are told of trials of skill and strength in which the saint gained a great victory over his pagan opponents. The outcome was royal toleration for his preaching. The text of the Senchus More, the old Irish code of laws, though in its existing form it is of later date, mentions an understanding reached at Tara. Patrick was allowed to preach to the gathering, "and when they saw Laeghaire with his Druids overcome by the great signs and miracles wrought in the presence of the men of Erin, they bowed down in obedience to God and Patrick."

King Laeghaire seems not to have become a Christian, but his chief bard and his two daughters were converted, as was a brother, who, we are told, gave his estate to Patrick for the founding of a church. From this time on, Patrick's apostolate, though carried on amid hardships and often at great risk, was favored by many powerful chieftains. The Druids, by and large, opposed him, for they felt their own power and position threatened. They combined many functions; they were prophets, philosophers, and priests; they served as councilors of kings, as judges, and teachers; they knew the courses of the stars and the properties of plants. Now they began to realize that the religion they represented was doomed. Even before the Christian missionaries came in strength, a curious prophecy was current among them. It was written in one of their ancient texts: "Adze-head (a name that the shape of the monk's tonsure might suggest) will come, with his crook-headed staff and his house (the word chasuble means also a little house) holed for his head. He will chant impiety from the table in the east of his house. All his household shall answer: Amen, Amen. When, therefore, all these things come to pass, our kingdom, which is a heathen one, will not stand." As a matter of fact, the Druids continued to exist in Christian Ireland, though with a change of name and a limited scope of activity. They subjected Patrick to imprisonment many times, but he always managed to escape.

In 439 three bishops, Secundinus, Auxilius, and Iserninus, were sent from Gaul to assist Patrick. Benignus, an Irish chieftain who was converted by Patrick, became his favorite disciple, his coadjutor in the see of Armagh, and, finally, his successor. One of Patrick's legendary victories was his overthrow of the idol of Crom Cruach in Leitrim, where he forthwith built a church. He traveled again in Ulster, to preach and found monasteries, then in Leinster and Munster. These missionary caravans must have impressed the people, for they gave the appearance of an entire village in motion. The long line of chariots and carts drawn by oxen conveyed the appurtenances of Christian worship, as well as foodstuffs, equipment, tools, and weapons required by the band of helpers who accompanied the leader. There would be the priestly assistants, singers and musicians, the drivers, hunters, wood-cutters, carpenters, masons, cooks, horsemen, weavers and embroiderers, and many more. When the caravan stopped at a chosen site, the people gathered, converts were won, and before many months a chapel or church and its outlying structures would be built and furnished. Thus were created new outposts in the struggle against paganism. The journeys were often dangerous. Once, Odrhan, Patrick's charioteer, as if forewarned, asked leave to take the chief seat in the chariot himself, while Patrick held the reins; they had proceeded but a short way in this fashion when the loyal Odrhan was killed by a spear thrust meant for his master.

About the year 442, tradition tells us, Patrick went to Rome and met Pope Leo the Great, who, it seemed, took special interest in the Irish Church. The time had now come for a definite organization According to the annals of Ulster, the cathedral church of Armagh was founded as the primatial see of Ireland on Patrick's return. He brought back with him valuable relics. Latin was established as the language of the Irish Church. There is mention of a synod held by Patrick, probably at Armagh. The rules then adopted are still preserved, with, possibly, some later interpolations. It is believed that this synod was called near the close of Patrick's labors on earth. He was now undoubtedly in more or less broken health; such austerities and constant journeyings as his must have weakened the hardiest constitution. The story of his forty-day fast on Croagh Patrick and the privileges he won from God by his prayers is also associated with the end of his life. Tirechan tells it thus: "Patrick went forth to the summit of Mount Agli, and remained there for forty days and forty nights, and the birds were a trouble to him, and he could not see the face of the heavens, the earth, or the sea, on account of them; for God told all the saints of Erin, past, present, and future, to come to the mountain summit-that mountain which overlooks all others, and is higher than all the mountains of the West-to bless the tribes of Erin, so that Patrick might see the fruit of his labors, for all the choir of the saints came to visit him there, who was the father of them all."

In all the ancient biographies of this saint the marvelous is continuously present. Fortunately, we have three of Patrick's own writings, which help us to see the man himself. His is a brief autobiographical sketch; the , also known as , is a strange chant which we have reproduced in the following pages. is a denunciation of the British king of that name who had raided the Irish coast and killed a number of Christian converts as they were being baptized; Patrick urged the Christian subjects of this king to have no more dealings with him until he had made reparation for the outrage. In his writings Patrick shows his ardent human feelings and his intense love of God. What was most human in the saint, and at the same time most divine, comes out in this passage from his :

"It was not any grace in me, but God who conquereth in me, and He resisted them all, so that I came to the heathen of Ireland to preach the Gospel and to bear insults from unbelievers, to hear the reproach of my going abroad and to endure many persecutions even unto bonds, the while that I was surrendering my liberty as a man of free condition for the profit of others. And if I should be found worthy, I am ready to give even my life for His name's sake unfalteringly and gladly, and there (in Ireland) I desire to spend it until I die, if our Lord should grant it to me."

Patrick's marvelous harvest filled him with gratitude. During an apostolate of thirty years he is reported to have consecrated some 350 bishops, and was instrumental in bringing the faith to many thousands. He writes, "Wherefore those in Ireland who never had the knowledge of God, but until now only worshiped idols and abominations, from them has been lately prepared a people of the Lord, and they are called children of God. Sons and daughters of Scottish chieftains are seen becoming monks and virgins of Christ." Yet hostility and violence still existed, for he writes later, "Daily I expect either a violent death, or robbery and a return to slavery, or some other calamity." He adds, like the good Christian he was, "I have cast myself into the hands of Almighty God, for He rules everything."

Patrick died about 461, and was buried near the fortress of Saul, in the vicinity of the future cathedral town of Down. He was intensely spiritual, a magnetic personality with great gifts for action and organization. He brought Ireland into much closer contact with Europe, especially with the Holy See. The building up of the weak Christian communities which he found on arrival and planting the faith in new regions give him his place as the patron of Ireland. His feast day is one of festivity, and widely observed. Patrick's emblems are a serpent, demons, cross, shamrock, harp, and baptismal font. The story of his driving snakes from Ireland has no factual foundation, and the tale of the shamrock, as a symbol used to explain the Trinity, is an accretion of much later date.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpatrick.asp#ixzz1GsLSxfql
Post a Comment