On St. Patricks Day I sent an email to a friend who lives in Dublin. "How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?" I asked. I was curious if we Americans... with our corned beef and cabbage, beer and green stuff... were making more out of something Irish than Ireland ever would. While waiting for her reply, I did a tiny bit of research.
A Wee Bit of History:
Wikipedia, as per usual, had a wonderful concise history. I was happy to read that Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by many church denominations. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland as well as celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services, and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick's_Day. I thought that was pretty much it in a nutshell. Sounded a lot like how we celebrate here... just more so in some towns than others.
My Friend's Reply:
Sorry not to have been back to you but I did a rare thing... I took my final leave for the year over the St Patrick's Festival, but, Ireland being Ireland, we had snow, rain , hail and wind on the day and it was freezing!! The festivities are more of a Mardi Grais than our old traditional parade where we had pipe bands and Irish dancers along with some floats, but it brings a lot of people to the streets, mostly visitors from overseas, so I just go for a saunter around the old parts of Dublin like the Liberties area where I come from and head into our old local pub for a few pints of Guinness to end the day...
We also love to go to the Irish Mass in an unusual church in Dublin, the Augustinian Church in Clarendon Street near the main upmarket area of Grafton Street, this year it took place on the Saturday night before the feast and was beautiful, a mixture of Irish language and English with all the hymns in Irish by Sean O'Riorda, beautiful and peaceful in the middle of the mayhem of Dublin.
We are in the run up to our usual Family Mass for Easter and the Stations of the Cross for young people on Friday, so busy busy ... the children also used your lenten acclimations and are gradually starting to use more of the settings in your music, so hopefully by the end of this year we will have more of them used each week, so a great thank you for them...
Well, have to get the head down now and try to catch up with a weeks pile up on the desk!!
So nice to know that many things, faith and culture included connect us even while worlds apart. I am thankful for my dear, Irish friend. I look forward to visiting her in Ireland someday at the Aughrim Street Church of the Holy Family in Stoneybatter Dublin 7. I really want to hear their congregation sing the Mass of Simplicity parts. (In case you don't remember... the Mass of Simplicity is the setting of music I wrote for the Catholic church which was published by Oregon Catholic Press in 2011.) It's nice to know that God is able to use something I wrote to bless others in various parts of the world.
Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.