Saint Patrick was born towards the close of the fourth century, but the place of his birth is not positively known. Britain and Scotland both claim the honor, but the best authorities seem to agree upon Brittany, in France. In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snows, rain, and ice. The young man had recourse to God with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six months spent in slavery under the same master Saint Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the seacoast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel. After three days sail they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions. Patrick assured the company that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came into a country that was cultivated and inhabited.
Some years afterwards he was again led captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that He destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw Saint Martin, Saint Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. Great opposition was made to his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relations and by the clergy; but the Lord, Whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland to preach the Gospel, penetrating into the remotest corners; and such was the fruit of his preachings and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, but gave freely of his own, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions. He died and was buried at Down, in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church.
Introit of the Mass
“The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, to be the prince of the sanctuary and of His people, that the dignity of priesthood should be to him forever. O Lord, remember David and all his meekness.”
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O God, Who wast pleased to send blessed Patrick, Thy bishop and confessor, to preach Thy glory to the gentiles, grant that, by his merits and intercession, we may, through Thy grace, be enabled to keep Thy commandments. Through Christ, Our Lord, Amen.
Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 44:17, 20, 22, 27; 45:3, 8, 20
Behold, a great priest, who, in his days, pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath was made a reconciliation. There was not found one like him that kept the law of the Most High. Therefore with an oath the Lord made him to increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He established with him an everlasting covenant, and gave him a great priesthood, and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in His name, and to offer Him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.
Gospel: Matthew 25:14-23
At that time Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: A man going into a far country called his servants, and delivered to them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to everyone according to his proper ability; and immediately he took his journey. And he that had received the five talents went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five. And in like manner he that had received the two gained other two. But he that had received the one, going his way, digged into the earth and hid his lord’s money. But after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things I will place thee over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me: behold I have gained another two. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy lord.