Holy St. Padraig, pray for us

stpadraigHappy "Shamrock Day," to you? I have no idea how this national-angle story ended up in the Waco Tribune-Herald -- in a city that is not exactly a major center for Roman Catholic culture and news, unless we are talking about Baylor University wars over the role of faith in higher education. But I fear that there really is something to this story, because it's, well, so logical in this day and age.

Read on, and may the saints preserve us. Here's the lede:

Faith and begorrah, is nothing sacred?

Some folks are trying to transform the name of Tuesday's holiday from St. Patrick's Day to "Shamrock Day." Card shops have banners proclaiming the occasion; the Disney Channel is using the term; and some places in this country have changed the name of their community celebrations of Celtic heritage to the "nonoffending" terminology.

And that offends some folks.

I looked around a bit, trying to find other coverage of this "St. Patrick Wars" story, but there is little out there. This seems to be early in the cycle of making the change, although you can see evidence of an up-tick in a general Google search.

Reporter Terri Jo Ryan's story includes a hint of a national angle -- you'll be stunned to know this trend has hit California, of all places -- but she mainly talks to Waco people. You have to have an elderly Catholic priest in there, of course, and he's even from Ireland:

"I'm afraid I could use all kinds of expressions that wouldn't be principled to describe this trend," said Monsignor Mark Deering, 88, senior-most Catholic cleric in these parts. Deering, retired pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church of Waco, came here from Ireland in 1953 as a freshly minted missionary priest and never left.

"I don't think that would ever be a success to call it Shamrock Day," he said.

People the world over, of every culture and race, enjoy being Irish for the day, he added. And he said he's heard no one take great umbrage before at having a Christian saint's name attached to the day of merriment.

"In fact, in New York City, when the parade comes down Fifth Avenue, the Jews take more joy in it than almost anyone," Deering said.

What you don't get in this tiny story is a sense of just how important St. Patrick is, in terms of Christian history and, especially, the history of Christian missionary work. Click here for a bit of information about this subject.

We are talking about one of the giants, a saint who is still venerated in the East as well as the West. You better believe there's one in my family's icon corner, next to St. Brendan (my patron), St. Hilda and St. Brigid. I have seen more than a few icons of St. Padraig in Orthodox parishes in my travels and he is -- to say the least -- still very popular in Irish Catholic circles. Duh.

So if this is a trend or even a mini-trend, where is the national coverage? Put this up on the Drudge Report or let Chris Matthews tee off on it and we'd have a firestorm, especially if President Barack Obama were to take a shot at this topic during one of his scheduled meetings today with Irish-American leaders.

So did I miss something? Is there coverage of this topic out there in the mainstream?

Art: The icon of St. Patrick is available from The Holy Transfiguration Monastery.

Please respect our Commenting Policy