As we approach 17 March, bishops have offered prayers through the intercession of our national patron, Saint Patrick, for the faith and well-being of the people of Ireland. Patrick was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his homeland. As Saint Patrick’s Day is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics in Ireland the best way to remember our patron is to attend Mass. Bishops at this time particularly encourage the faithful to pray for migrants, and to reflect upon the plight of Patrick – himself a migrant – especially as many people struggle to live and integrate into new cultures, at home and abroad, arising from displacement and poverty.
Saint Patrick the Migrant – a reflection by Father Alan Hilliard
Father Alan Hilliard offers a reflection on Saint Patrick the Migrant in the current issue of the Sacred Heart Messenger. Father Alan says:
“Saint Patrick is so emblazoned with symbols of his Irishness that we forget he is an immigrant to Ireland. Not unlike the Holy Family and many families today, he was an undocumented migrant, a refugee, a slave, a member of a diaspora and a returnee. Yet somehow he transcended all of these categories and made himself ‘one of us’. I often wonder how Saint Patrick would describe himself. Did he see himself as a constant migrant, did he come back to Ireland because he felt an affinity with the people? Was he just aware of the fluidity of the world of his time, prompted by trade and transport not unlike globalisation today? Did he feel constrained in his own place among his family and community? Was he just plain restless? Did his early experience of slavery make him restless for other things? Was he someone who rose above tribal identity and found his identity in his work and his belief?”
Read the full article by Father Alan Hilliard, a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin.
Lúireach Phádraig (Saint Patrick’s Breastplate )
Watch a short video of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate or Lúireach Phádraig as it is known in the Irish language. The music and the arrangement are by Sister Marie Dunne CHF, a Holy Faith Sister from Dublin. The soloist on this piece is Patricia Bourke D’Souza.
Saint Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ below me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left hand,
Christ in my sleeping,
Christ in my waking,
Christ in the heart of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouth of all who speak of me,
Christ in every eye that looks at me,
Christ in every ear that listens to me.
Críost i mo dhiaidh,
Críost istigh ionam,
Críost os mo chionn,
Críost ar mo lámh dheas,
Críost ar mo lámh chlé,
Críost i mo lúi dom,
Críost i mo sheasamh dom,
Críost i gcrói gach duine atá ag cuimhneamh orm,
Críost i mbéal gach duine a labhráionn lom,
Críost i ngach súil a fhéachann orm,
Críost i ngach cluas a éisteann liom.
A Prayer for Emigrants
Click here to listen to a prayer for emigrants
A Prayer for Immigrants
Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ.
You crossed every border between Divinity
and humanity to make your home with us.
Help us to welcome you in newcomers, migrants
Blessed are You, God of all nations.
You bless our land richly with goods of creation
and with people made in your image.
Help us to be good stewards and peacemakers,
who live as your children.
Blessed are You, Holy Spirit.
You work in the hearts of all
to bring about harmony and goodwill.
Strengthen us to welcome those from other lands,
that we may live in human solidarity and in hope.
God of all people,
grant us vision to see your presence in our midst,
especially in our immigrant sisters and brothers.
Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors
and grace to build a society of justice.
Source: Pax Christi