There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.
Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland to parents of Roman origin (so Scots and Italians can claim him as well). While his parents were Christian, some sources contend that had little interest in the faith in his early years. Then, as a boy of about 15, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland – a land of Druids and pagans – as a slave to herd and tend sheep. While he would learn the language and practices of the people who held him, he would eventually turn to God in prayer. He wrote:
“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”
Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family. But eventually he had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.” He began his studies for the priesthood and was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.
Later, Patrick himself was ordained a bishop and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. According to some sources he met a chieftain of one of the tribes who tried to kill him. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick. Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message. Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461, at Saul, where he had built the first church.
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission. [Source: www.Catholic.org]
Now on to the reports. Sally and Al covered the morning shift. Here’s what Sally wrote:
It was chilly, and there was a lot of wind this morning, but no rain,
There is a song from Fiddler on the Roof called “Miracle of
Miracles”, and we did have a minor miracle this morning. Although
there were 10 escorts, the entire morning was slow (only about 4
couples early on) and incredibly peaceful for a St. Patrick parade
day. At first I could not figure what was so different, and then I
finally realized…..THE BARS WERE NOT OPEN!! Other years they had
opened early in the morning, and by 9 a.m. many celebrants had already
had too much to drink. This morning, with the bars closed, it was
just like any other Saturday morning. Praise God! A constant stream
of young people and families with children walked by wearing their
green, and were mostly friendly.
We had a good group of over 50 people, about a third from St. John &
Paul, and another third with Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life. The
others were mostly regular Saturday pray-ers. Many prayers were
offered for the mothers and their babies this morning. We pray that
those who come to stand for life later in the day will also have
Pastor Adam was next:
It was great to see Father Tim and his group going through the Stations of the Cross when I arrived. There was also another large group there, and it was a great sight to see and I think that a large group like that makes a big impact.We had a surprise visit from Lynn and Tom Hogan from St. Mary’s (a three hour drive!), and Lynn proved to be a wealth of information.Eileen Guay from St. Philip in Crafton was there and kept great watch over the fetal models while Margie Sumner and Tamara Frochio from Trinity Lutheran in New Brighton were a blessing. For most of the time, it was just those three ladies and myself, but it was a very calm shift, despite numerous inebriated passersby offering the occasional taunt. It was mainly cold and windy, but then Joe White from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton brought the sun with him just in time for Liz to begin her shift.All in all, we were able to talk to a few people, including a young man who was just released from Jail and is expecting a child from his girlfriend in May. He was very open and curious about the fetal models and was shocked to learn about the abortions that Planned Parenthood perform. It was a good day, and the Lord was with us!
And then Liz closed us out:
In a nutshell… Liz was NEVER alone.
I arrived too early (12 noon) fearing traffic and parking because of the parade. I decided to stop for warm drink and use the restrooms at… City Cafe which was where I found a parking space. I didn’t realize until later that “the was the gentleman that didn’t like us” As a was paying, the waiter asked me if I was here for the parade. I replied no, I was here to witness at PP. Then I asked him in a whisper, Is it true that the owner did not like us. He responded, “Yes and I don’t like you either”. I answered him that we still have to respect each other and left him a very nice tip.
When I arrived Pastor Adam, Joe and the ladies from Trinity Lutheran were there, Margie and Tami. Tons of people in green everything were everywhere. Many were already intoxicated, staggering and hugging us. I knew I would be fine when Pastor Adam prayed over me before he left.
And then, they began to arrive…
There was Jeff, followed by Tom , then Jennifer from Slippery Rock Campus Ministry with her exuberant personality. A short time later, an Access Bus pulls us and gives us Ms. Susie J. (St Norbert) who did not see being in a wheelchair as an impediment to witness for Life. Then Jeannie and her quarterback of a son Will joined us (how sweet our signs of newborn babies look on these big men…).
Shortly thereafter, a beautiful family recently arrived from Florida (where they witnessed for 40 Days for Life ) became part of our ever-growing group. They are Lauren, Brian and son John from St Thomas More in Bethel Park. John added the joyfulness that only a child can bring to a group; at one point he was dancing to the music (blaring) from the bar next to Planned Parenthood.
Pastor Jeff Harris and his wife Bev from Crossroads Community Church in Butler arrived right on time at 3:00 pm “ready to do battle”. The crowds of inebriated people walking by, the comments (some positive some not) did not phase them. In fact Pastor Jeff said, “Butler is much worse than this”. In his group were Tiffany , Matthew (a nice looking young gentleman that the men from the bar kept trying to invite in), Michael and Sally
Pastor Jeff equipped everyone with signs, proceeded to pray over me and then the group dispersed to evangelize. Wow, what a great faith-filled group!
Planned Parenthood appeared not to be doing much business, few people walked in. Unlike what I heard about the morning shift where “about 15 PP guards stood watch on either side of the doors”. The doors of PP in fact were locked by 3pm.
All and all my experience of being downtown on St Patricks Day is: a lot of families and funny costumes early in the day and LOTS of drinking from early afternoon on and on and on. A few incidents ensued brought on by all the alcohol,; mainly from the bars on either side of PP. But it was very reassuring to ‘witness’ the undercover cops in action…
GOD BLESS ALL WHO SHOWED UP TODAY TO STAND TOGETHER TO WITNESS (and not leave ‘Liz alone’)
And finally, take your time as you look at the pictures below. They say so much about dedication…and faith that our efforts are not in vain.