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Story of St. Patrick offers important lesson during Lent, says Pennsylvania-based priest

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This year, 2024, the fifth Sunday of Lent coincides with St. Patrick’s Day, the feast day of Ireland’s patron saint.

And while many people are taking this opportunity to enjoy all things Irish, one priest told Fox News Digital that the story of St. Patrick is a timely reminder of the power of God’s forgiveness. he said.

Father Patrick is subject to “a great deal of folklore” and misconceptions that are not entirely true, the priest said. TOR’s Timothy Harris told FOX News Digital. Mr. Harris is pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and pastor of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic fraternity.

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St. Patrick himself was not Irish. His place of birth is unknown, although he was probably born in Wales or Scotland.

“It’s clearly not Ireland anyway,” Mr Harris said.

Father Timothy Harris (TOR) is a Catholic priest based in Pennsylvania. He is also a chaplain of the Ancient Hibernian Order, an Irish-Catholic fraternity. (Image provided by Father Timothy Harris, TOR)

St. Patrick came to Ireland after being kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 16.

Harris said he was a slave and worked as a shepherd until he was 22 years old, when “God led him to return to his home and family.”

Mr Harris said there was no evidence that St Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity, but said it was a “great tradition”.

St. Patrick is “a great example of the mercy and love of God that is continually given to us.”

As great as these stories are, they’re not the only reason St. Patrick is celebrated every year, even thousands of years after his death.

“The most important elements of his story that history attests to are what make him such a glorious saint that we celebrate today,” Harris said.

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After returning to his family, St. Patrick was ordained a bishop and “returned to the island where he had been enslaved to become a sharing servant of Christ.” [God’s] Love with the Irish,” Harris said.

Especially for young people, St. Patrick is “an excellent example of God’s mercy and love, which is continually extended to us, even when our youthful pride prevents us from recognizing the need for forgiveness.”

St. Patrick's Day Parade

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 17th each year. (Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)

Although his father was a deacon, St. Patrick himself was not religious as a child, Harris said. St. Patrick was actually a “rebellious and easily influenced by the world around him.”

Mr Harris added: “On the night of his abduction, he had ‘snipped’ out of his home in the middle of the night to ‘play pranks’ with friends who had encountered the beach raiders.”

This “youthful indiscretion” would dramatically change his life and the lives of the Irish people.

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“The choice Patrick made that night was to reject his faith and open himself to true evil through the occult,” Harris said.

“Fascinated by the esoteric elements of the pagan religions that existed around him at the time, he began to rebel against the instructions of his parents and the truth of Christ’s care and protection.”

St. Patrick's Cathedral Nave

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is located in New York City and is the home of the Archbishop of New York. The current St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in 1879 to replace the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

It was while tending sheep in a foreign land, far from home, that St. Patrick truly understood the gravity of what he had done and how he could resolve his situation.

“He turned to a God who never left him and was waiting for his return,” Harris said.

With a “humble heart and a contrite spirit,” St. Patrick found strength and comfort in God.

“Patrick made a new covenant with God, bringing peace in the midst of suffering and hope. This is the most powerful gift to anyone who is lost in darkness. Over the next six years, Patrick spent much of his time praying. As a boy, he hardly acknowledged it. ”

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St. Patrick, who had a “humble heart and a contrite spirit,” found strength and comfort in God, he said.

The story of St. Patrick matches well with the readings preached in Catholic churches on the fifth Sunday of Lent, Harris told FOX News Digital.

holy week ashes

“Our Lord never forsakes us. He walks with us invisible, inviting us into His mercy and ready to bring us salvation.” (St. Petersburg)

“The reading for the fifth Sunday of Lent begins with a passage from the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah urges God’s people to repent of their past sinful choices and indiscretions and turn to the Lord to receive the gift of hope that will never be given to them. I’m calling you to come back and say, ‘It’s over,”’ Harris said.

In particular, the line, “I will put My law among them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people,” was written while St. Patrick was a slave. It represents the transformation he underwent. In Ireland.

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“So many young people today, and many of us who still act more ‘childish’ than ‘childlike,’ need to hear the story of St. Patrick. Our choices include: There are consequences,” he said.

Choosing to reject God in favor of “the evils of this world” puts oneself at risk of “unimaginable danger.”

“So many young people today, and so many of us who still act more ‘childish’ than ‘childlike’, need to hear the story of St. Patrick. Our choices include: There will be consequences.”

“But our Lord never abandons us. He walks with us invisible, inviting us into His mercy and preparing to bring us salvation.” said Harris.

“But God is a lover, not a thug. He never forces himself on us. When we open ourselves to Him, He gives us what we need, when we need it. Please bring it to me.”

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After all, he said, “the only unforgivable sin is the sin of not asking God for forgiveness.”

“This Lent, let us all follow the example of St. Patrick and find true peace as we humbly turn to God the Father for the forgiveness of our sins,” he said.

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