Prayer for the Faithful by St.
Brother John Raymond
St. Patrick was born to Catholic parents about the year 385 in
Britain. His father was a nobleman. At sixteen Patrick was captured
by slave-raiders from Ireland! With a large group of prisoners he
was transported to then pagan Ireland. Sold as a slave to a king in
the northeast, Patrick had the lonely task of tending the pigs and
The harsh conditions of living and the intense solitude drove
Patrick to turn to God in prayer. He wrote, "Now after I came to
Ireland I herded the flocks; and often during the day I prayed. The
love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more and my faith
grew, and my spirit was stirred up so that in a single day I said as
many as a hundred prayers and at night nearly as many even when I
was out in the woods or on the mountain."
After being captive for six years; one night Patrick heard a
voice in his sleep say, "Soon you will go back to your homeland." A
short time later he heard the same voice say, "Your ship is ready."
Trusting in God Patrick set out on a 200 mile journey through
unknown territory. When he arrived at the ship the Captain refused
to take him. Patrick prayed to God for help. The Captain changed his
mind. So Patrick sailed for Gaul (France). From there he returned to
his parents in Britain. Here he stayed until he was recalled to
Ireland by a vision in which he saw a man coming from Ireland with
countless letters in his arms. He gave one of them to Patrick. This
letter was entitled "The Voice of the Irish." After reading the
title he heard a multitude cry out, "We beseech you, holy youth, to
come and walk once more among us." Yet Patrick was not convinced
until he had two more such mystical experiences.
To prepare himself for the difficult mission of converting the
pagan Irish Patrick set out to visit various monasteries in Gaul.
For three years he lived under the guidance of the holy abbot, St.
Honoratus. Following the practice of the times, he moved from one
center of holy learning to another. He spent 15 years under the
supervision of St. Germanus. During these years Patrick grew in
holiness. He labored hard to acquire knowledge toward the
In 429 St. Germanus, now a Bishop, attended a local gathering of
Bishops and Priests to discuss improvements in the British Church.
At this meeting the project of sending a mission to Ireland was
suggested. This was due to the numberless British Christian slaves
there. Patrick was considered for the leadership of this mission.
The following year, with Patrick present, another assembly was held.
A very dear friend advocated his cause. He even went a step further
- why not make him a Bishop? There was strong opposition to this
suggestion. He was declared to be only half-educated, uncultured and
slow of speech. The decision - Patrick was rejected. St. Palladius
was chosen. However, Patrick was ordained a priest a year later and
sent to Ireland to assist Bishop Palladius. On the way Patrick
learned that the new Bishop had died so he returned home. Finally,
in 432 Patrick became a Bishop, went to Ireland and became the
apostle of the Irish nation where he taught the people about the
Mystery of The Most Holy Trinity by using a shamrock. He was helped
by the prayer of St. Brigid who lead a community of Nuns in Kildare
and was known fo her miracles.
The first seven years of St. Patrick's mission was so successful
that three assistant Bishops were sent to help him. As time went on
churches were built in almost every district in Ireland. Yet,
conversion of the pagan people was not easy. Patrick wrote, "Daily I
expect either murder, robbery, or enslavement." He escaped from
twelve attempts on his life.
Occasionally Patrick found time to spend all of Lent in solitary
prayer and penitential practices. Once he climbed a solitary
mountain near the shore of Clem Bay. Since then it has been called
the Mountain of Patrick. Another time he went to the desolate island
of Lough Derg. This Island in future generations became a pilgrimage
site called the Purgatory of St. Patrick. After thirty years of
labor among the Irish people St. Patrick the apostle died a natural
death on March 17, 461.
Prayer for the Faithful
by St. Patrick
May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
- Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.