Although I've noted St. Patrick's Day in past years, the famous saint's feast day is more meaningful to me now. Having walked in Patrick's chosen homeland during my Christmas 2006 trip to Ireland, I feel more connected to the roots of the modern American celebration.
Even today, Ireland has a lot of wild and rugged country. One can only imagine how daunting the landscape was sixteen centuries ago, when Patrick was teaching Christianity to the Druids. Patrick's mere survival in the midst of the native population is in itself a small miracle; his success in converting the Irish to the new Christian faith is a large one indeed.
On New Year's Eve, 2006, I snapped the photo of St. Patrick's Church in my grandmother's hometown of Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, Ireland. It is one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of Irish churches, streets, and buildings named for Ireland's patron saint.
It's my guess that Patrick deserves all of them. And he certainly deserves this one joyful day each year. I hoist a toast to all my readers, in honor of St. Patrick's Day--SLAINTE MHATH! ("Good health!")