March 17th always falls during Lent which gives Saint Patrick the same problem that I typically have on my birthday (March 20th): How can we have a Catholic celebration during Lent! There is a type of spiritual restriction that is properly placed upon even the most joyous events when they take place during Lent. The Church’s liturgical documents even remind couples that while marriage vows can be taken during Lent, the ceremony should be simple and flowers in the sanctuary are still prohibited (Ordo).

This year we have a special privilege since March 17th falls on a Sunday. Sunday is not a day of fasting and penance, so it would be permissible to have a joyful remembrance of Saint Patrick. Although the Church’s liturgical calendar does not have Saint Patrick on it since Sunday’s celebrations of the Lord’s resurrection always supersedes the proper of the saints, a joyful memory of Saint Patrick remains a valiant thing.

On this March 17th, I share with you some inspiration we gain from Saint Patrick’s breastplate:

“God’s Power to guide me, God’s Might to uphold me, God’s Wisdom to teach me, God’s Eye to watch over me, God’s Ear to hear me, God’s Word to give me speech, God’s Hand to guide me, God’s Way to lie before me, God’s Shield to shelter me, God’s Host to secure me.” I hope that Providence will allow you to enjoy some corned beef and cabbage today or find some other way to honor Saint Patrick.
-Fr. Thuerauf