Patrick


Today we walked with St. Patrick. We visited the Patrick Centre in Downpatrick and prayed at his grave. We touched the cold water of St. Patrick’s Wells at Struell. We prayed at Saul Church, the site of the barn Patrick was given for shelter — the place he established his first church. 

St. Patrick, I thought I knew you, the saint of stained glass and mitres, of shamrocks and crosiers.

Today we celebrate your feast day with parades and green beer. But the color of your adopted country is blue. And the old ones took your feast day as times for abstinence and prayer.

Let me see past the 21st century Patrick to the Patrick of 432, the man called to return to his place of bondage and bring the word of love.

Let me reclaim your remembrance as a holy time, an opportunity for service to the poor, the hungry, the enslaved. For you once were poor, hungry, and enslaved. Let me reclaim your remembrance with gratitude and humility.

Pray for me. Pray for us, Patrick.

(I took this photograph near the grave of Patrick. The flower and I spent some reflective time together.)

Kildare to Downpatrick

This morning we loaded the bus at 9:00 to set out on the next leg of our journey. We had morning prayer on the coach. 

We travel from Brigid’s Kildare to the North and the area of Downpatrick where St. Patrick was buried. We have stops at the Hill of Tara and Kells along the way. The next two nights we will stay in Newcastle. 

Blessings to all who journey this day. 

Brigid 

We spent the day with St. Brigid in Kildare. We rekindled the fire of hope, love, and justice at the place of Brigid’s fire. And we took our woundedness and sorrow to Brigid’s well, where we moved among others who were seeking healing.

I am under the shielding
of good Brigit each day;

I am under the shielding
of good Brigit each night.

I am under the keeping
Of the nurse of Mary,
Each early and late,
Every dark, every light.

Brigit is my comrade-woman,
Brigit is my maker of song,
Brigit is my helping-woman,
My choicest of women
my guide.
-Carmina Gadelica

It was an honor to be in these places with these places of Brigid. It was an honor to be able to lead worship in these holy places.

Clonmacnoise 

We enter the gates
Of Clonmacnoise.
Ahead of us are
Centuries of life in the Spirit.

You have a choice, the leader says,
Go in pilgrim or go in tourist mode.
Either way is fine, but make your intention.

I walk the stones
Of the pilgrim way.
I touch the high cross
That has stood there for 1000 years.

How many people
Have walked these steps?
How many hearts have been Touched, guided,
Inspired in this place?

Let me journey with their spirits.
Let me walk in faithfulness,
In kindness,
In love.
In the pilgrim way.

Saint Ciarán 

I found myself drawn back to the ruin of St. Ciarán’s Church at Glendalough. St. Ciarán was the anam cara (soul friend) of St. Kevin. 

His church is right next to Kevin’s Church in the newer monastic ruins of Glendalough. (Newer … as in the 800s.) I sat inside the ruins in silence and contemplated friendship. These words came. 

Soul Friend

You stand with me.
You know my heart.
You honor my spirit by your presence.
Our hearts, tender and wounded,
Silent and overflowing,
Join in the One Heart that holds all.

My anam cara,
Heart of my heart,
Blessing me,
Blessing the world
With love.