St. Patrick is a much-celebrated saint because he was able to engage the “spirit of the people” and communicate the Gospel to them in their time and culture, said Archbishop Francis Carroll.
"His own totally authentic faith, his deep love of God and of the people he served, carried their own conviction. Somehow he engaged the very spirit of the people," said the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. He spoke of the popular Irish saint at a St. Patrick’s Day ecumenical service at the Australian Center for Christianity and Culture in Canberra yesterday.
St. Patrick, he said, "spoke to [the people’s] deepest hungers, desires, and aspirations and so the Gospel message flowed into and transformed the very genius of the Irish without destroying or binding its energy."
Archbishop Carroll said that while much is said of the inculturation of the Gospel today, this is "much more than a matter of language, the use of symbols and the adaptation of local customs."
"The Christian message must engage the very spirit of modern men and women, speak to their deepest aspirations and satisfy the real hungers of the human heart,” he said.
"In today's Church much energy is spent in pastoral planning, strategic thinking and professionalism in ministry. These have their place but do they leave sufficient room for the movement of the unpredictable Spirit who guided and energized Paul and Patrick," he said.