today's readings are Hosea 14: 1-9; Psalm 81 and Mk. 12: 28-34
During the season of Lent, the Church's focus is on the Lenten journey, with the celebration of saints' days set aside, with the exception of St. Joseph's Day (March 19th, but this year transferred to Mon. the 20th) and the Annunciation, on March 25th.
If you had a copy of this month's Living with Christ you would notice that today is considered a ferial day, or if need be, or for St. Patrick. With the profound influence of the Irish immigrants on the life our nation and the Canadian church, in my opinion it is impossible to set aside Patrick from mention this day.
As is the case of countless other countries, the principal evangelist of Ireland was not in fact home-grown. While we are not sure if Patrick was Welsh or English or even possibly a Breton from the Brittany area of France, we do know for sure that he was a foreigner, born in the 4th century. His first period in Ireland was due to a group of Irish pirates who kidnapped him as a youth, brought him to Ireland and sold as a slave. After a number of years he escaped, and returned back home, where he became a priest and then a bishop in France.
After the death of St. Palladius, Patrick went back to Ireland, and his missionary efforts in Ireland were incredibly successful. The faith spread rapidly throughout the country. Over the centuries, the role of the Irish church and its missionaries was fundamental in the spread of Christianity throughout the world. A classic example of this is reflected in the fact that he is the Patron saint of Nigeria!
St. Patrick, pray for us!