By: Father David Marcham on March 17th, 2023
The Two Patricks of Ireland - Family Reflection Video
Holy lives of inspiration | seasonal reflection
I have to tell you; there was quite a competition about who would have the honor of celebrating this Mass on St. Patrick’s Day. It was only settled by a DNA test showing I had the closest connection to St. Patrick, but not how you’d think.
First of all, not to cause a fight, but St. Patrick wasn’t of Irish descent. Instead, he came from what was called Britain in his time. He became a missionary to Ireland, just like Father Peyton was a missionary to the world, and in a sense Fathers Fred, Pinto, and Boby are our missionaries to the U.S.A. and beyond through Holy Cross Family Ministries.
The reason I had the strongest claim on St. Patrick is that my father is of English descent, and my mother of Irish … which is a story unto itself!
But, you know, behind the rivalry of claiming a Saint, is the recognition of a man or woman’s, a boy or girl’s success in faithfully doing God’s will in an extraordinary way. A way that inspires us to follow their courageous and holy example.
St. Patrick’s story is one that, no matter where you or your family originate, offers hope, especially in tough times. As a young man, Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. Six long years later, he escaped, returned to Britain, and was later ordained a priest.
Most of us would want to leave the trials of our past behind and remain in the safety and familiarity of our homeland. However, Pope Celestine saw something in the future saint that caused him to send Father Patrick back to Ireland to evangelize the Irish.
Now as someone who grew up hearing the term “Irish-Catholic,” it’s hard to imagine Ireland not being Catholic, but at that time, it wasn’t. And, because Ireland’s pagan members were hostile to Christianity, Father Patrick was in constant danger.
And here’s something that we can learn from St. Patrick that applies to all people, and that is how he faced adversity. St. Patrick, like our founder, Venerable Patrick Peyton, confidently placed his trust in God. All of us can follow this example when the trials of life heat up from conflicts both with others … or internally, times when we experience a spiritual drought, a lack of peace, financial struggles, etc. If we have deep roots with God, then we won’t just make it through, but our efforts will bear fruit.
Both Venerable Patrick Peyton and his namesake experienced trials in seeking to follow God just as each of us does, no matter our age, ancestry, or homeland. It’s inevitable that our faith will be tested (sometimes daily). But in each holy man named Patrick, we see a reason to believe in God’s grace leading us to see the good we are called to do and the ability to do it.
Father Peyton brought the faith of his parents and St. Patrick with him to the United States and then to the world, following his missionary namesake with the same courageous zeal for evangelizing men and women, boys and girls of all nations.
At the time of his death, St. Patrick would see an Irish clergy in place and that Christianity had reached nearly all of Ireland. All because God used a time of trial in Patrick’s life to see the plight of the Irish while he, too, suffered. And, then, as Father Peyton would later do, St. Patrick, once freed, wished to repay God with his life for others.
So on this St. Patrick’s Day, let us be inspired to be rooted in our faith in God, believing that He can bring good out of hard times and the grace to see our way through even the most challenging times.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all!
St. Patrick, pray for us!
- Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
- To view Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live, please visit our Facebook page at 11:30 am EST, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!