March 2022: Editorial
St Patrick’s Day unites Irish families and friends across the globe like a green Christmas. In references to his family in the short, simple account of his life and ministry, his Confession, Patrick reveals his closeness to them and how he wanted them to understand who he was. ‘Although I am imperfect,’ he wrote ‘I want my brothers and my family to know what kind of man I am so that they can see the aspiration of my life.’ Later he mentions how much they cared about him when they begged him not to leave them again after he had made his way back home from exile. As he grew older he says how much he would love to have returned to his home and family but was worried that if he did much of the good he had achieved would unravel. The strength of Patrick’s faith owed something to his strong family ties and to his father and grandfather whom he mentions specifically. His description of God’s care for him in the early days of his captivity as a teenager indicates the strength of his relationship with his father when he wrote; ‘ God watched over me before I got to know him and before I was wise or could tell good from evil. In fact he protected me and comforted me as a father would his son.’ Perhaps this family closeness helps us understand why the concept of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit was so important to Patrick. This mysterious doctrine was not strange to him because he could easily see God acting like a family, creating, saving, sustaining, guiding and comforting.
As Ireland continues to change and if the Gospel message Patrick brought us is to survive and flourish then more and more it falls to the Christian family to pass it on. Schools and parishes exist to help and support families in faith formation, but home and family is where the Gospel will either flourish or fail. As we thank God and celebrate the memory and legacy of Patrick we pray particularly for Irish families through whom so many nations have been blessed, that they may renew their confidence in their spiritual heritage.