I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day: March 17th

Saint Patrick's Day, celebrated on March 17th, in the dioceses of Ireland it is a solemn and holy day of obligation and is officially called Saint Patrick's Feast Day. The original color associated with Saint Patrick was blue, but over time the color association changed to green and green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of the day was early as the 17th century. The phrase “the wearing of the green”, which means wearing a green shamrock on clothing comes from a song of the same name.
Saint Patrick is a national day in Ireland, but Irish in Europe have been celebrating it since the 9th century; and later became known as the patron of Ireland. The Feast Day was officially listed in the liturgical calender in the Catholic Church, influenced by Luke Wadding, a Franciscan scholar in the early 17th century. A solemn ceremony in the Roman Catholic Church, it is a great feast day in the Church of Ireland
In 1940, when St. Patrick's Day falls during the Holy Week, it is changed to April 3rd, so not to coincide with Palm Sunday. It occurred again in 2008, and changed to be observed on March 14th. St, Patrick's Day will not fall within the Holy Week again until 2160.
However, Saint Patrick's Day did not become an official public holiday in Ireland until 1903. James O'Mara introduced the bill to the Parliament and later introduced another law that required pubs and bars were to be closed on March 17th because drinking became a problem – the latter was repealed in the 1970s.
The first Saint Patrick's Day parade occurred in the Irish Free State in Dublin in 1931. In the 1990s, the government of the Republic of Ireland began a campaign to use the day to represent Ireland and its culture and the government set up a group called St. Patrick's Festival; the first being held on March 17th 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event and by 2000, a four-day event. It became so popular that in 2006 it became a five-day festival and in 2009 there were more than 675,000 people attending the parade. Over the five-day celebration in 2009, there were almost one million visitors taking part in concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks.
Other countries that celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in one form or another besides the United States: Argentina, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Malaysia, Montserrat, Russia, South Korea, and Switzerland. 
In 2011, astronauts aboard the International Space Station celebrated the festival with Catherine Coleman, an Irish-American, playing a 100-year-old flute while floating weightless in the space station.
Saint Patrick is certainly a popular saint in many nations. In case your behind in his biography, here is a brief one …
Patrick was a Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in the 5th century. Born into nobility about 400 AD in Britain, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16, raised in a religious family. It is said that he was an atheist early in his life, but after spending 6 years as a slave, he escaped captivity in Ireland and returned home. At 22 it is thought he studied at Lerins, off the French coast and spent years at Auxerre, France and consecrated bishop at age 43. After an inspiring dream about Irish children he took that as a revelation to be a missionary in pagan Ireland. Of course he ran into many problems, especially with the pagan druids, but still managed to ordain many priests, divided Ireland into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries. Because of his dedicated efforts, Ireland became deeply rooted into Christianity, so much so that missionaries were sent to mainland Europe to Christianize pagans there.
Few writings from Saint Patrick survived, and the authentic work entitled Confessio is considered to be the best.
Saint Patrick joins St. Nicholas and St. Valentine as the secular world's favorite saints.
He died at Saul, the place he built the first Christian church in Ireland on March 17th, 461.

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