Saint Patrick’s Day is here again. It is quite possibly one of my least favorite days of the year. This year (thus far) has not been an improvement.
Saturday (March 15) was the parade, green beer specials all day long at bars, green colors everywhere.
Sunday (March 16), my parish had a Saint Patrick’s Day party following all Masses.
Note: All of this occurred before St. Patrick’s Day.
Not surprisingly corporate America has jumped on this bandwagon and capitalizes on this day every year, so I am not surprised by all of the specials and whatnot at stores and restaurants. I expected that. But, what is really bugging me this year is my parish’s party.
They had Irish dancers, Irish music, Irish drums (as if there is something that makes drumming “Irish”….It is a drum! No matter how you play it, it still goes “boom”), and everyone was encouraged to wear green. I had forgotten that this was announced last week at Mass. Had I remembered, I would have attended Mass elsewhere. I would have preferred to have avoided the festivities and the sea of green. Do not get me wrong. Green is my favorite color; I am in favor of everyone wearing it more often. However, I hate seeing it used to debase what should be a day dedicated to a holy bishop of the Catholic Church and Our Blessed Lord.
This is what irked me about my parish’s Saint Patrick’s Day party, the complete lack of Saint Patrick, the man. There was no mention of his life or the great work he did in his life. There were no tales of the young Saint Patrick, born in Scotland, kidnapped and enslaved at the age of 14, how he turned to God in his captivity, or the great number of pagans he converted.
The world sees Saint Patrick’s Day as a day to get drunk and celebrate Ireland. What is the Church doing combat that attitude? Basically nothing. If we want to end the alcoholism and obnoxious (and in a lot of cases, sinful) behavior surrounding Saint Patrick’s Day, the Church needs to stop celebrating Ireland and start celebrating Saint Patrick.
It is time to ditch the Irish dancers and the obnoxiously green clothing schemes. It is time to pray the Rosary, study the theology surrounding the Most Holy Trinity, and to tell great stories of the life of this heroic man.
If my parish wants to continue this behavior, well, then I look forward to the bratwursts at our Germanfest on June 5 (or the closest Sunday), eating lutefisk and lefse at our Norwegian party on July 29 (or the closest Sunday), the wine at our French soiree on October 1 (or the closest Sunday), and our fiesta on December 12 (or the closest Sunday).