St. Patrick, the Irish, and the Faith

StA St Patrick window
St. Patrick window in St. Andrew’s transcept

The Kingdom of God will be given to a people that will produce its fruit. (Matthew 21:43)

A people that will produce the fruit of the Kingdom of God. Maybe the Lord referred here to the sons and daughters of Ireland.  Who have peopled the ends of the earth with Guiness-drinking U2 fans.

St. Patrick’s Day is not a bad day to spend watching four or five college basketball games in a row.  But, of course, the best thing is: to consecrate ourselves anew in our alliance with God–which is what we do when we celebrate Holy Mass.

newly renovated St. Patrick’s in New York

The triune God made an irrevocable covenant with the sons and daughters of Abraham, based on one simple thing:  Abraham’s pure faith.

Before Moses–and way before they renovated St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York–God established this covenant of faith.  Abraham, full of faith, awaited the Messiah.  And he rejoiced when the Christ finally came.

St. Patrick expressed the pure faith of Abraham and the mystery of Christ with an eloquence that made Ireland a fertile ground for Christianity.

And the faith has spread from Ireland to the four corners of the earth. It’s no fluke that we have a large stained-glass window of St. Patrick in our church. If Irish men and women hadn’t come to Roanoke in the late nineteenth century, we wouldn’t have a St. Andrew’s.

We can rest assured that St. Patrick takes a great interest in helping us get to heaven, one day at a time. Today he himself died, 1,524 years ago. St. Patrick is more interested in helping us get to heaven than he is in turning anyone’s beer green. I guess he is mildly interested in helping the Notre Dame basketball team. His help got them past Princeton yesterday. We’ll see how interested St. Patrick is tomorrow, against West Virginia.

Anyway: faith. St. Patrick lived and died for the Christian faith. Let’s live that faith patiently and lovingly, in his honor. We never got a dispensation from Bishop DiLorenzo, so we have to live our faith today by abstaining from corned beef, and sticking to tomato soup with soda bread instead. Praised be the Lord!


Come on, seventy degrees. Come on, baby. So close. Don’t be afraid. Come to papa!

…The Law of Moses bound the Chosen People to a weekly day of rest.

The Law of Death gave the human race rest from sin.

But this is the everlasting Sabbath: To believe in God and the One Whom He has sent…

…On the art beat:

The Sacred Made Real” in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art is NOT TO BE MISSED.

If you do not visit the National Gallery of Art between now and May 31, you will have MADE A BIG MISTAKE…

Opera buffs:

Did you know that Scott Joplin wrote an opera? It is called “Treemonisha.”

They performed it recently at the Atlas Theatre, in my humble Northeast Washington parish.

Here is some of the cast singing one of the ditties:

…St. Patrick’s day is great. But let’s face it. The big day of the week is Friday, the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

All the laws of penance and abstinence fall by the wayside in honor of the holy Patron of the whole Church. (Click HERE if you want to get siked-up for St. Joseph’s day.)

From the Whirlwind

Strange, strange winter. Who can make sense of it?

The Hoyas whup Duke and Villanova. Meanwhile, they manage to lose to South Florida and Rutgers. (?!?)

But before we start second-guessing Providence (Almighty God, that is–not Providence College), let’s remember the Lord’s words to Job:

Brace yourself like a fighter.
Now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
Who decided the dimensions of it, do you know?
What supports its pillars at their bases?
Who laid its cornerstone
when all the stars of the morning were singing with joy,
and the sons of God in chorus were chanting praise?

Who pent up the sea behind closed doors
when it leapt tumultuous out of the womb,
when I wrapped it in a robe of mist
and made black clouds is swaddling bands?

Have you ever in your life given orders to the morning
or sent the dawn to its post,
telling it to grasp the earth by its edges
and shake the wicked out of it?

Have you ever been shown the gates of death
or met the janitors of Shadowland?

Which is the way to the home of the light,
and where does the darkness live?
You could show them the way to their proper places,
or put them on the path to where they live!

Has the rain a father?
Who begets the dewdrops?
What womb brings forth the ice,
and gives birth to the frost of heaven,
when the waters grow hard as stone
and the surface of the deep congeals?

Have you grasped the celestial laws?
Could you make their writ run on the earth?
Can your voice carry as far as the clouds
and make the pent-up waters do your bidding?
Will lightning flashes come at your command
and answer, ‘Here we are’?

Does the hawk take flight at your advice
when he spreads his wings to travel south?
Does the eagle soar at your command
to make her eyrie in the heights?

Is the Lord’s opponent willing to give in?
Has God’s critic thought up an answer? (Job 38-39)

…Please say a prayer for the repose of Monsignor Michael Farina–a kind, gracious gentleman of a priest, who lavished a lot of love on your humble servant when I was a seminarian.

Telling Beads

Click here for beautiful rosary beads.


It would seem that our Catholic friends are given to a great deal of repetition in prayer. Some of the poor creatures say, “Hail, Mary!” as often and as fast as they can.

None of us prays the Holy Rosary with the attention that it deserves.


Isn’t it better to say the Our Father, the Sacred Name of Jesus, and the holy name of Mary many times? I mean, as opposed to not doing that?

…The Rosary is a bottomless mystery that can only be understood from within. The Holy Father’s words at St. Patrick’s Cathedral are especially applicable to the recitation of the Rosary:

Stained glass windows flood the interior [of the church] with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor.

Many writers – here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne – have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself.

It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit.

Yesterday was the 59th anniversary of the foundation of the Missionaries of Charity!


St. Paddy’s Day in Yaoundé

Yaoundé, Cameroon
Yaoundé, Cameroon

pope-planeHoly Father is not going to Ireland. He is going to Africa.

He will visit Cameroon and Angola. It will be a week-long trip.

He will be in Cameroon for St. Joseph’s day on Thursday, too.

It is hard to believe that it is almost a year since he came here to Washington.

The day he paraded through town in the popemobile was one of the most delightful days of my life. The sun was shining, the streets were full of people, and everyone wanted to exchange a pleasant word with Father. Washington was one big, happy, Catholic family that day.

March 17
March 17
March 19
March 19