“In an increasingly secularised and vulgarized country, ‘Paddy’s Week’ is descending into an excuse for mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry,” writes D. Vincent Twomey, Editor-in-Chief of The Word Magazine.
the month of March, the Church celebrates two great feast days, that of
St Joseph and that of the Annunciation. However, the only feast that
will attract public attention will be that of St Patrick.
Alas, not because of its religious significance.”
Twomey says the combination of prosperity and creativity have made the
main parade in Dublin a spectacular affair, but says it is not in
keeping with the Church’s celebration of feast days as “the triumph of
good in the world” – be it in the lives of the saints or in central
events in the life of Our Lord or his Mother.
He explained that
Irish history since the Penal Times prevented the faithful from
developing a culture of public celebration for these festivals similar
to those in Italy, Spain or the countries of central Europe.
last remnants of medieval celebrations in Ireland were the “Pattern
Days,” – the celebration of various patron saints, usually associated
with their shrines or holy wells.
The “Pattern Days” had the
right mixture of piety and fun that should mark every celebration, Fr
Twomey wrote in his March editorial.
He lamented the fact that
major feast days have become “holidays of obligation” with the emphasis
on the obligation to attend mass, without any celebration outside Mass
such as music, dancing, sport or reveling that still mark the feast days
of Italy and Spain.
“It cannot be denied that we have restored
the fun to St Patrick’s Day. What is often absent is the faith
dimension. It is time to bring the piety and the fun together.
is time to reclaim St Patrick's Day as a Church festival, one that
should have a special ecumenical perspective, since all Christians in
Ireland trace the origins of their faith back to Patrick,” said Fr
“It is also time to rediscover the man himself, his
triumph over adversity thanks to his faith in Jesus Christ, and his deep
spirituality, so needed today.
“It is time to experience the joy
that arises from being able to say ‘yes’ to being a Christian in
Ireland today and sharing that joy with others.”