Celebrating St. Patrick

Pray Tell reader Fr. Pádraig McCarthy calls our attention to a couple ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s day.

First, read the texts that Patrick wrote (or rather, the texts that are generally accepted as such). A Web site set up by the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, Ireland, St. Patrick’s Confessio contains digital copies of the eight surviving manuscripts of the Confessio as well as a letter that Patrick wrote to some soldiers of Coroticus who had taken Christians as slaves. Texts are available in Latin, Irish, English, German, Italian or Portuguese.

For a musical meditation, Fr. Pádraig recommends a recording of a medieval Office for St. Patrick, from manuscripts in Trinity College, Dublin. Available for purchase (CD or download), this recording is sung by Canty.



  1. At a lecture with the late George Otto Simms, I was taken aback to discover that the connection between Patrick and the shamrock went back as far as the seventeenth century only.

  2. I would like to memorialize a story from my maternal grandmother, born in the late 19th century in Gortermone, between Killarga and Manorhamilton in County Leitrim:

    She said that, when she was growing up, the elders admonished the children not to wear green on St Patrick’s Day, or else the Blessed Mother would have a nosebleed.

    Folk traditions are funny. I assume this one arose from a need to keep the peace, and avoid partisan colors to so keep it.

  3. “My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.”

    I LOVE this opening. I am used to imagining him as a powerful figure, clad in bishop’s robes, stern and formidable, with a huge gold crozier. There is a different Patrick here. Thanks for drawing attention to these texts.

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