St. Patrick of Ireland

by Jean Grant

Help your students learn about St. Patrick with this prayer service.

Preparation: At the prayer table, place a statue of St. Patrick with his bishop’s miter and shepherd’s staff, a crucifix or a picture of a Celtic cross for Ireland, and an empty vase. Choose two readers. Light a battery-powered candle and gather everyone at the prayer table. Open with the song “Christ Beside Me” or another appropriate song.

Leader: St. Patrick, although he was not the first missionary to Ireland, is known as the Apostle of Ireland. When he was a young man in Scotland, he was abducted and taken to Ireland where he was a slave and a shepherd. After six years in captivity, God directed Patrick to a ship to return home where he was welcomed back by his parents. It was his dream to then return to Ireland as a priest and bishop and convert the pagans. His dream came true and he had a great impact on the people of Ireland. He was the most famous and most successful missionary to Ireland as it became a Christian nation.

Reader 1: Let us strive to be true Christians and follow the example of St. Patrick with others. Read Romans 2:19-21 aloud.

Reader 2: St. Patrick composed a prayer called the sacred Lorica—a prayer that was in litany form. Respond to the following excerpt from the Lorica by responding “Holy Trinity, protect us.”

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ
behind me (response)
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me (response)
Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left (response)
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise (response)
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me (response)
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me (response)

Christ in every eye that sees me (response)
Christ in every ear that hears me (response)

I arise today through mighty strength,
The invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation (response)

Leader: In the spirit of St. Patrick, and as modern-day missionaries, all rise for an Irish blessing.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Suggested closing songs: “Christ Beside Me” or “Take the Word of God With You When You Go.” 

Source: Today’s Catholic Teacher, January/February 2016
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