.- The Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Sean Brady has issued a St. Patrickâs Day message wishing a âhappy and faith-filledâ St. Patrickâs Day to celebrants. Noting the importance of the saintâs Christian faith, he expressed hopes that Irish people will rediscover the âjoy and loveâ of faith.
Cardinal Brady also lamented the return of violence to Northern Ireland.
âIt is my very great pleasure on this our National Feastday to wish Irish people everywhere a very happy and faith-filled St. Patrickâs Day,â he wrote on Tuesday. âAll over the world today, Irish men and women, and those who claim Irish descent, will gather to celebrate their identity and their heritage.â
Saying the feast unites Irish people all over the world, he commented that Patrick has become a symbol both of Irish history and of Irish heritage.
âBut simply to reduce Patrick to a symbol of that kind, worthy as it may be, without any reference to his own Christian faith distorts the truth and in no way does justice to the real stature of the man,â Cardinal Brady said, warning celebrants not to lose the âreal focusâ amid the âmusic, parades and merriment.â
âWe join together today not just to celebrate Irish culture and identity, but also to remember the man who described himself as an ambassador for God and who prayed that it might never happen that he, Patrick, should lose the people which God had won for himself at the end of the earth. Today we honor a man who nurtured and spread Christianity throughout our native land â setting down a strong foundation by building on the solid rock of steadfast faith.â
âMy hope, on this St. Patrickâs Day, is that more and more Irish people, who have lost their connection with faith, will rediscover it and rediscover what St. Patrick called âthe joy and love of faithâ.â
St. Patrick founded the Archdiocese of Armagh around 445 A.D.
Cardinal Brady, his successor, also commented on the recent killings of two British soldiers and a policeman in Northern Ireland.
Saying he is âvery much awareâ that violence has returned to Northern Ireland, Cardinal Brady said the âawful and tragic eventsâ of last week could show the need to work âunceasinglyâ for peace in Ireland.
âI would urge all citizens to redouble efforts to build a peaceful society. Violence is not the answer. The perpetrators of violence are seeking to destroy the peace we are building,â he continued, calling for support for peacemaking politicians.
The cardinal then adopted as his own the prayer from St. Patrickâs Breastplate:
âChrist be in all hearts thinking about me
âChrist be on all tongues telling of me
âChrist be the vision in eyes that see me
âIn ears that hear me
âChrist ever be.â