March 2019 Letter

The Real St. Patrick:


As I stated last month, only two saints—Valentine and Patrick—have their feast days listed on ordinary calendars. On St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th ) everyone, no matter what their heritage, can be a little bit Irish. People in the U.S. traditionally celebrate by wearing green clothing, eating corned beef and cabbage, and drinking a mug of their favorite “green-colored BEvERage.” But who was the real St. Patrick and why is his feast day now celebrated as a national holiday?


Patrick is one of the best-known of the missionary saints. Born to a Christian family in Britain around the year 389 AD he was captured as a teenager by raiders, taken to Ireland, and forced to serve as a herdsman. After six years, he escaped and found his way to a monastery community in France. Ordained a bishop, it is believed Patrick made his way back to Ireland in the summer of 433 AD, and there spent the rest of his long life spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and organizing Christian communities. He strongly defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, & God the Holy Spirit) in a time when it wasn’t popular to do so. His literary legacy includes his autobiography, Confession, and several prayers and hymns still used in the Church today (LSB #604, I Bind unto Myself Today). At least one tradition states that Patrick died in Ireland on March 17th around the year 466 AD.


Because Patrick is considered the principal missionary and champion of Irish Christianity, his life and death have been celebrated in the Church as an official feast day since the early 17th century. His breastplate contains the following passage:

“I bind unto myself the name,

The strong name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.

By whom all nature hath creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord.”


March Blessings!


Pastor David A. Feddern