Yep. It’s St. Paddy’s day. Which means, of course, certain people… drink green beer? How does that work, exactly?
Rewind 1600 hundred years. It is sometime in the early 5th century. A man from what we know call Wales, captured by Irish raiders, makes his way back to the verdant green isle after six years, enslaved. He later returns to the land of a many of my ancestors to share the Good News. Legend has Patrick banishing snakes from the island. (Though that didn’t stop lots of them from leading churches elsewhere.)
Between the myth and the man lies a story of a man committed to sharing his faith, no matter the personal cost. His work had such a lasting impact on Ireland that he is later named one of the patron saints of that always gorgeous, often troubled island. And March 17th is celebrated in his name – a national holiday in Ireland and an excuse to drink green beer in much of the rest of the Irish-infected world.
My last name is Irish. (Either a derivative of MacKinnon, or a misspelling of Keenan or Kennedy.) I ofttimes claim my celtic heritage. The reality is that I’m probably half-English, a quarter-English Jew, and a quarter Irish – making me a typical Canadian mutt. And as that mutt, I raise a glass to Patrick – an early model of the missionary life. There will be no green beer for me. I’d never put dye in a glass of Guinness. But I may just wander down to Allen’s on the Danforth and enjoy the sights and sounds of those hungry for a home they’ve never known – whether from Ireland or not.