By Christina Hermoso
Roman Catholics observe Sunday (March 17) the feast of a saint who converted all of Ireland to Christianity in a span of four decades – Saint Patrick (San Patricio), the well-loved patron saint of Ireland, and one of the most popular saints of the Catholic Church.
Commemorative masses will be held in his honor in many parts of the world including the Philippines, where churches have been built in his memory.
In Ireland, devotees will mark St. Patrick’s Day as a public holiday. It is celebrated both as a cultural and religious event to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
In the country, commemorative masses and festivities will be held in Cebu City.
Known as one of the earliest Christian missionaries, St. Patrick was born in Scotland in the year 387. He grew up to be a humble, pious, and deeply religious man.
After Pope Celestine I ordained him bishop in 432, he was sent to Ireland the following year, where he worked miracles, preached, built churches, and converted thousands to the faith. The Church said, “St. Patrick converted all of Ireland in a span of 40 years.”
Also known for his spiritual writings, he wrote about his deep faith and love for God in “Confessions.” St. Patrick died in 461 and has been venerated in many parts of the world since the 9th century.