Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 17th - St Patrick's Day

Patrick of Ireland (389 - 461)
At the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped from his home by Irish marauders and taken to Ireland, where he was sold as a slave to a chieftain and forced to herd livestock. After 6 years of slavery, Patrick escaped to Britain. Because he believed that God's hand was in it all, Patrick devoted his life to ministry. While studying for the priesthood, he experienced recurring dreams in which he heard voices say, “O holy youth, come back... and walk once more amongst us.” He convinced his superiors to let him return to Ireland in 432, not to seek revenge for injustice but to seek reconciliation and to spread his faith. Over the next 30 years, Patrick established churches and monastic communities across Ireland. When he was not engaged in the work of spreading the Christian faith, Patrick spent his time praying in his favorite places of solitude and retreat. (Summary from Shane Claiborne's Facebook page)

This well known prayer is attributed to Patrick:
Christ be with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

St Patrick's Day prompted me to explore more about the Deaconesses of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, who mainly work in congregations, in hospitals, in hospice care, in prisons, in special work and in the community.  'Deaconesses bring authentic faith in Christ to everyone they meet. As women with a specific calling they are a dedicated group, some trained with specific skills in counselling or caring, others passionate about reaching people beyond the normal circle of the church. Thank God for them. They bring the extraordinary Jesus with them into the ordinary world'. (Source: Deaconess website).

Pray that as people throughout Ireland celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, they may be inspired to engage further in mission and outreach work, and sharing their Christian faith with others.

2015 Deaconesses of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
 Here's another link to a page with individual photos of deaconesses, and information.

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