Lenten Thoughts: St. Patrick’s Call still heard during Lent

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The Perry Ministerial Association will not hold weekly Tuesday Lenten services and luncheons this year, but rather association members will be sharing a weekly reflection with the community here in this space. This week’s reflection is by the Rev. Donald Keeler, pastor of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

We invite you, if you feel inclined, to send an offering or donation to the Good Samaritan Fund that supports our community outreach and assistance program. Those donations can be sent to Perry Ministerial Association, P.O. Box 156, Perry, IA 50220.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

At this time of year, no matter your place of origin or birth, anyone can claim to be Irish, wear some green and join in the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

So what does St. Patrick have to do with Lent?

As with many stories from antiquity, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction, but we do know this: According to Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal Church, Patrick was born on the northwest coast of England in about 390. His grandfather had been a Christian priest and his father a deacon. When Patrick was about 16, he was captured by a band of Irish slave traders. He was carried off to Ireland and forced to serve as a shepherd.

When he was about 21, he was educated as a Christian. In about the year 431, a vision called him to return to Ireland. He answered the Call and spent the rest of his life in Ireland as a Christian missionary. So much has been attributed to Patrick about his Faith journey, from teaching the Trinity by using the three petals of a Shamrock to converting peasants and kings to Christianity.

Like Patrick, as Christians we discern with regularity what it means to answer the Call. The question is especially meaningful as we continue our daily struggle in a world fraught with uncertainty.

The following prayer, dedicated to Patrick of Ireland in Lesser Feasts and Fasts, can apply to our Faith journey today during Lent:

Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light that we may come at last to the everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. AMEN

God’s blessing as you celebrate St. Patrick’s day, with all its fun and revelry and with its reminder of our commitment as Christians during Lent.

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