Strive to imitate the innocence and extraordinary piety of which St. Patrick was a most beautiful model even during the flower of his youth. Request him to obtain for you and all Christians an increase of the holy faith which he planted in the land of our forefathers. Celebrate with the greatest piety possible his feast which falls, as you know, on the 17th of March. The Novena can be said at any time during the year.

O Blessed Apostle of Ireland! glorious St. Patrick! who didst become my father and benefactor long before my birth, receive my prayers, and accept the sentiments of gratitude and veneration with which my heart is filled towards thee. Thou wert the channel of the greatest graces to me; deign then to become also the channel of my grateful thanksgivings to God for having granted me, through thee, that precious gift of faith, which is dearer than life. O most blessed father, and patron of my country! do not, I beseech thee, despise my weakness. Remember, that the cries of little children were the mysterious invitation thou didst receive to come among us. Listen then to my most humble supplications; I unite them to the praises and blessings which will ever follow thy name and thy memory throughout the Irish Church; I unite them to the prayers of the multitude of my ancestors, who now enjoy eternal bliss, and owe their salvation, under God, to thy zeal and charity. They will eternally share thy glory, because they listened to thy word, and followed thy example. Ah! since I am descended from saints, may I blush. to differ from them: may I begin from this moment to love God with all my heart, and serve him with all my strength. For this end I most humbly beg thy blessing, O great St. Patrick! and thy particular intercession, for obtaining whatever grace thou seest to be most necessary for me, and also the particular intentions of this Novena.

O charitable Shepherd of the Irish flock! who wouldst have laid down a thousand lives to save one soul, take my soul, and the souls of all Christians, under thy special care, and preserve us from the dreadful misfortune of sin. Thy zealous preaching provided us the blessings of religious instructions which we now enjoy; obtain that none of us may receive them in vain. Thou didst teach our ancestors to love our holy Faith, obtain for us that we may be true to it till death. I most humbly recommend to thee this country, which was so dear to thee while on earth. Protect it still; and above all, obtain for its pastors, particularly those who instruct us, the grace to walk in thy footsteps, that they may share in thy eternal bliss.

(Conclude novena with the Litany of St. Patrick)

Litany of St. Patrick

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us.*
St. Patrick, apostle of Ireland,*
St. Patrick, vessel of election,*
St. Patrick, model of bishops,*
St. Patrick, enemy of infidelity,*
St. Patrick, consumed with zeal,*
St. Patrick, example of charity,*
St. Patrick, glory of Ireland,*
St. Patrick, instructor of little ones,*
St. Patrick, our powerful protector,*
St. Patrick, our compassionate advocate,*

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord!.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord!

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O glorious St. Patrick.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O God, Who didst send Thy blessed servant St. Patrick to instruct and save Thy people, and didst infuse into his heart so great a share of Thine own tenderness, charity, and zeal, listen, we beseech Thee, to the prayers which we now offer up in union with the prayers of this glorious patron and father in heaven, and grant us, through his intercession, the intentions of this Novena, and the grace rather to die than to offend thee. Amen.

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland
by Fr. Prosper Gueranger (1870)

The Saint we have to honour today is the Apostle of that faithful people, whose martyrdom has lasted three hundred years; it is the great St. Patrick, he that gave Erin the Faith. There shone most brightly in this Saint that gift of the Apostolate, which Christ has left to his Church, and which is to remain with her to the end of time. The Ambassadors or Missioners, sent by our Lord to preach his Gospel, are of two classes. There are some who have been intrusted with a small tract of the Gentile world; they had to sow the divine seed there, and it yielded fruit, more or less according to the dispositions of the people that received it: there are others, again, whose mission is like a rapid conquest, that subdues a whole nation, and brings it into subjection to the Gospel. St. Patrick belongs to this second class; and in him we recognise one of the most successful instruments of God's mercy to mankind.

And then, what solidity there is in this great Saint's work! When is it that Ireland receives the Faith? In the 5th century, when Britain was almost wholly buried in paganism; when the race of the Franks had not as yet heard the name of the true God; when Germany had no knowledge of Christ's having come upon the earth; when the countries of Northern Europe deeply slumbered in infidelity; yes, it was before these several nations had awakened to the Gospel, that Ireland was converted. The Faith, brought to her by her glorious Apostle, took deep root and flourished and fructified in this Isle, more lovely even by grace than she is by nature. Her Saints are scarcely to be numbered, and went about doing good in almost every country of Europe; her children gave, and are still giving, to other countries, the Faith that she herself received from her beloved Patron. And when the 16th century came with its Protestantism; when the apostacy of Germany was imitated by England, Scotland, and the whole North of Europe, Ireland stood firm and staunch: no persecution, however cleverly or however cruelly carried on against her, has been able to detach her from the Faith taught her by St. Patrick.

Let us honour the admirable Apostle, chosen by God to sow the seed of his word in this privileged land; and let us listen to the simple account of his labours and virtues, thus given in the lessons of his Feast.

The following Sequence, in honour of our Saint, is taken from an ancient Manuscript Missal, published by Messingham, in his Florilegium Insulce Sanctorum, Paris, 1624

Joyful is the light of this day's feast, whereon Patrick, the man of God, ascended to heaven!

When yet in the early dawn of life, the holy youth devoutly venerated the cross of Christ.

He made the sign of the Cross on the ground: a fount gushed forth upon the spot, and with its waters he gave sight to one born blind.

He turned water into honey, and by it restored his nurse to health.

He was led captive by pirates, and was made keeper of swine: but the Saint found a piece of glittering gold, and with it bought his freedom.

For three days did Satan harass him with bodily injuries: but Elias healed him, and gave him back his strength.

His soul was vigorous in grace, and, like Moses, he restrained his body from vices by fasting.

He ascends a high mountain, and there he fasts. He throws ice upon a fire, and it burns as though it were wood.

He puts himself under the care and teaching of Germanus, and studies under him the maxims of the Gospel.

Pope Celestine, by a divine inspiration, sends him to teach salvation to the people of Hibernia.

The thief, that had stolen a goat, was discovered by its bleating: and he and his family were punished with a severe scourge.

A man had covered himself with a cloth, and asked to be restored to health. He was first punished with real death, and was then restored to life by Patrick's prayer.

He drew together, by his prayer, all venomous reptiles, and drove them from Hibernia's shore.

At times, he saw the heavens opened; and as he gazed above, he saw the Lord Jesus.

Our Father passed out of this world, under the guidance of Christ; and, glorious by his miracles, he was taken to the courts of heavenly light.

Mercifully grant unto us, O good Jesus! by his intercession, that we may enter into joy. Amen.

The following Antiphons and Prayers are taken from the Offlcium Sancti Patricii, Paris, 1622

The Faithful people, with glad souls, celebrate the venerable solemnity of this day's Feast; whereon the blessed Pontiff * Patrick laid aside the burden of mortality, and joyfully took his flight to the heavenly kingdom.

Hail illustrious Pontiff! Pastor of Hibernia's flock! O Patrick! holy Bishop! the guardian of our people! pray for us daily to the King of glory.

Blessed be the Lord of all, who hath visited his people by blessed Patrick; by whose prayers may we be loosened from the bonds of our sins, and come to the enjoyment of rest of the Blessed, together with him.

All the children of Ireland cry out to thee: Come, O holy Patrick, and save us!

Pontiff means high priest, bishop during this era --not the Roman Pontiff.

Let us pray:

Thy life, great Saint! was spent in the arduous toils of an Apostle: but how rich was the harvest thou didst reap! Every fatigue seemed to thee light, if only thou couldst give to men the precious gift of Faith: and the people to whom thou didst leave it, have kept it with a constancy, which is one of thy greatest glories. Pray for us, that this Faith, without which it is impossible to please God, (Heb. xi. 6.) may take possession of our hearts and minds. It is by Faith that the just man liveth, (Heb. ii. 4) says the Prophet, and it is Faith that, during this holy Season of Lent, is showing us the justice and mercy of God, in order that we may be converted, and offer to our offended Lord the tribute of our penance. We are afraid of what the Church imposes on us, simply because our Faith is weak. If our principles were those of Faith, we should soon be mortified men. Thy life, though so innocent, and so rich in good works, was one of extraordinary penance: get us thy spirit. and help us to follow thee, at least at an humble distance. Pray for Erin, that dear country of thine, which loves and honours thee so fervently. She is threatened with danger even now, and many of her children have left the Faith thou didst teach. An odious system of proselytism has disturbed thy flock; protect it, and suffer not the children of Martyrs to be Apostates.

Let thy fatherly care follow them that have been driven by suffering to emigrate from their native land: may they keep true to the Faith, be witnesses of the True Religion in the countries they have fled to, and ever show themselves to be the obedient children of the Church. May their misfortunes thus serve to advance the Kingdom of God. Holy Pontiff! intercede for England: pardon her the injustice she has shown to thy children: and, by thy powerful prayers, hasten the happy day of her return to Catholic Unity. Pray, too, for the whole Church: thy prayer, being that of an Apostle, easily finds access to Him that sent thee. Amen.

Hymn: St. Patrick, Apostle and Patron of Ireland.

Born, most likely, in France, in Little Brittany, on the coast of Leon, about the year 373. He was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him to Ireland. It was there he laid the foundation of a sanctity which made him one of the greatest apostles and patrons of Holy Church. Having received his mission from Pope Celestine, and being consecrated a Bishop, he converted the whole of Ireland, and filled the country with churches and schools of piety and learning. He died and was buried at Down, in Ulster, in the year 464, at the age of ninety-two.

On wings of holy charity
To Erin's coast Saint Patrick came,
To curb the devil's tyranny,
And spread the love of Jesu's name.

The Faith is firm in Erin's land,
And Patrick dear to Irish hearts;
Though heresy has raised her brand,
And struck her sons with Satan's dart.

Through ages lone of gloomy night
Our Fathers in fell bondage lay,
When Patrick brought the Gospel's light,
To light in truth our heavenward way.

The Faith is firm in Erin's land,
And Patrick dear to Irish hearts;
Though heresy has raised her brand,
And struck her sons with Satan's dart.

Then by celestial doctrine taught,
To Faith and Hope was Erin turned:
The flame of Love her children caught,
And Peter's Chair their Faith confirmed.

The Faith is firm in Erin's land,
And Patrick dear to Irish hearts;
Though heresy has raised her brand,
And struck her sons with Satan's dart.

Still, Patrick, pray that sin may fly
From every Irish heart and home,
And those who love to own thee nigh,
In lawless ways may never roam.

The Faith is firm in Erin's land,
And Patrick dear to Irish hearts;
Though heresy has raised her brand,
And struck her sons with Satan's dart.


Prayer to St. Patrick as your Patron Saint

Saint Patrick, whom I have chosen as my special patron, pray for me that I, too, may one day glorify the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Obtain for me your lively faith, that I may consider all persons, things, and events in the light of almighty God. Pray, that I may be generous in making sacrifices of temporal things to promote my eternal interests, as you so wisely did.

Set me on fire with a love for Jesus, that I may thirst for His sacraments and burn with zeal for the spread of His kingdom. By your powerful intercession, help me in the performance of my duties to God, myself and all the world.

Win for me the virtue of purity and a great confidence in the Blessed Virgin. Protect me this day, and every day of my life. Keep me from mortal sin. Obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Amen


St. Patrick Bishop
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

St. Patrick is called the Apostle of Ireland because he was the first to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in that country. He was a native of France. At the age of sixteen, Patrick and his sister Lupsita were captured by pirates and sold as slaves in Ireland. His slavery lasted six years, and he was employed in guarding cattle. In this occupation, his life was holy and innocent. At the end of this time an angel delivered him, and brought him back to his native land. But he was captured and sold into slavery a second time, and was again liberated. God made known to Patrick, by repeated revelations, that he was chosen to bring about the conversion of the Irish race to the true faith. To fit himself for this, he earnestly applied himself to the study of letters.

As soon as he had acquired the requisite knowledge, he was raised to the priesthood. He now sought permission from the Sovereign Pontiff, Celestine, to preach the Gospel to the pagan people of Ireland. The Pope joyfully consented, and consecrated him Bishop. The Saint immediately set out upon his journey, accompanied by some zealous missionaries, and preached Ireland in the year 432. It is impossible to describe the labors and hardships the holy man had to undergo, the vexations and persecutions he suffered in preaching the religion of Christ. God blessed the efforts and sacrifices of Patrick to such a degree that in a short time whole cities submitted themselves to the yoke of Christ. Other towns and places gradually followed, so that, during the thirty years of his apostolic career, he built three hundred churches, besides many monasteries. He divided the island into dioceses, and consecrated a Bishop for each See, and assigned Priests to every church, to continue the work of instructing the Christians and converting the pagans. Such a change of manners was wrought by the zeal of St. Patrick, and the lives of the inhabitants became so pure and edifying, that Ireland was called the "Isle of Saints."

The powers of hell were not idle; they opposed all imaginable obstacles to the propagation of the Gospel. But St. Patrick surmounted them all with Divine assistance. Leogarius, one of the mightiest kings of the island, and his magicians, resisted the Saint with all their might. But seeing the numerous miracles with which the holy Bishop confirmed the truth of his doctrine, the king granted him full liberty to preach in his domain. The pagan priests, furious at the success of Patrick, set on foot an uprising against the new Christians. They rose in arms to annihilate Christianity at one blow. The idolaters were ready to fall upon the converts, when, in the middle of a bright, clear day, a terrific thunderstorm burst forth from the heavens, which dispersed and routed the whole troop of pagans. The magicians, who were very numerous at the court of Leogarius, were put to shame, and left the service of the idols to become fervent Christians. The chief sorcerer alone remained obdurate. He, imitating the famous Simon Magus, promised to ascend into heaven; but as the latter had been cast to the earth by the prayers of Peter, so, at the prayers of St. Patrick, the prodigy was repeated, and the magician fell dead to the ground. This miracle was followed by numerous conversions.

The converts were most powerfully impelled to become fervent disciples of Jesus by the holy life and the many miracles of St. Patrick. The Saint gave his whole time to apostolic labors. He never would hear of repose or relaxation to renew his strength. His zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls was insatiable. He was not dismayed by any difficulty or hardship--his ardor was only enkindled the more. He traversed the whole island on foot, representing to the pagans their errors, and explaining to them the Christian religion. He instructed the rich and poor, the old and young, not only in the truths of faith, but also in reading and writing, because no others had any knowledge of letters. After having instructed them, he baptized thousands with his own hands. He consoled the sorrowing, assisted the destitute, visited and nursed the sick; in the words of the Apostle, "he became all things to all men, that he might save all." In these many and varied duties, his soul was most closely united to God, by constant ejaculations which he sent to heaven, to show his love for God and to call down the Divine help on all his undertakings. His body was always clad in a rough hair shirt, and he made use of an almost perpetual fast. He divided the night into three parts: the first he devoted to the recitation of one hundred Psalms of David; the second he spent in saying the remaining fifty psalms and other pious devotions; the third was allotted to sleep, which he always took on hard stone. The miracles which he wrought are not less numerous nor less remarkable than those of the apostles. He dissipated the most violent storms by the sign of the cross; he restored sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, and hearing to the deaf,--nay, he even recalled the dead back to life; the sick were healed by his simple touch. He also had the gift of looking into the unknown future and of penetrating the secrets of the heart, as we find recorded in his life. In a word, he was a true apostle of Christ, whether we regard the many toils and labors he underwent in the conversion of the heathen, or his many miracles and his holy life. Even unbelievers highly venerated him on account of all these.

At last, after many years uninterruptedly spent in apostolic labors, God called His faithful servant to the reward prepared for him. He died at the age of eighty-three, in one of the many monasteries which he had founded for the education of zealous laborers who might prosecute his work of conversion. A choir of heavenly voices was heard singing at his death, and a bright splendor was seen for twelve nights around the monastery, lighting up the whole neighborhood. Pagans and Christians beheld it with joy and astonishment. We may say that the circumstances of the life of St. Patrick most deserving of admiration are: first, that amid the many perils to which he was exposed he preserved his virginal innocence untarnished during his long years; second, that one single man should be able to bear so many hardships and accomplish such glorious results for the honor of God and the salvation of souls. But He who chose Patrick also bestowed on him His Holy Spirit, and armed him with the invincible strength of the apostles. The remains of the Saint repose in the cathedral of Down, and his tomb is famous for the many miracles wrought at it.

Pratical Considerations

For thirty years did St. Patrick sacrifice himself for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, amid incredible labors and hardships. What labor have you undertaken? How much time have you devoted to the welfare of your own soul? I say, your own soul! The soul you have is your own; you yourself must take care of its salvation. Were all men--nay, even were all the angels--solicitous about your soul, they could not bring it to heaven without your own active care. You can leave others to attend to every other concern or business without interfering, but, the salvation of your soul cannot be accomplished without your own personal exertions. God, who created your soul without your assistance, will not save it without your cooperation. It is your soul; your body will be united to it for all eternity; it will be your soul forever. If you are careful of it, as God requires, you alone will enjoy the benefit of this care, and you will be happy for all eternity. If, on the contrary, you are negligent, you alone will suffer, and be miserable for countless ages. Why, therefore, are you not more solicitous about your soul, on whose welfare so much depends? Why do you so often expose yourself to eternal ruin? "What have I done to thee?" said the ass, when she was beaten by Balaam-- "why strikest thou me, lo, now the third time?" (Numb, xxii.) Does not your soul put the same question? "What have I done to thee? Why dost thou inflict so many deadly wounds on me by thy sins? Am I not thy soul? Wilt thou not feel the injury?" You cannot, with any sense of justice, answer these complaints. Resolve for the future to pay greater attention to the wellbeing of your soul.


St. Patrick the Model and Patron
of Temperance Guilds or Associations

O Holy Patrick! Ireland's Saint,
Pray for thy children here,
That God may keep us evermore
Firm in His faith and fear.

As Ireland's children by the wood
Which skirts the western sea.
Called thee to come unto their help,
So call we now to thee.

Oh, let not Erin's children stain
The heirloom of their faith
By maddening drink, the bitter source
Of want, and sin, and death.

Dear Father, who didst take thy thirst in
In Ireland's shining springs,
Make Irish lips to choose the taste
Which the clear fountain brings.

Thou didst do penance while on earth
For Erin and her sons;
In heaven now intercede for us,
Thine Irish little ones;

That we from childhood ne'er may stain
The gift of Holy Faith,
But temperate and pure may live,
Thy children unto death.

Prayer for Temperance

My Lord Jesus Christ, who for love of us didst suffer the agony of thirst upon the Cross, grant we beseech thee, through the merits of thy sacred passion and death, that we may subdue our sinful desires, and may never have the misfortune to commit the sin of drunkenness. This most grievous sin has cast innumerable souls into hell. It brings in its train innumerable other sins. It closes the heart against sanctifying grace, gives loose reins to the vilest passions, destroys Christian peace in families, leads to fighting and quarreling, to cursing and swearing, to improper and sinful words. O God! through Thy own great mercy, preserve us from the sin of drunkenness, and through Thy love for all the Saints of Ireland, banish this terrible vice entirely from amongst us.

Say, from your heart, one "Hail Mary," to obtain the blessing of Temperance, and add: O sacred Heart of Jesus, through thy thirst and agony on the Cross, have mercy on us. Immaculate Mary, through thy compassionate heart, obtain for me the blessing of Temperance.

St. Patrick (+ 450): "In the Kingdom of God nothing is desired that may not be found: but in hell, nothing is found that is desired. In the Kingdom of God there is nothing that does not delight and satisfy; while in that deep lake of unending misery nothing is seen, nothing is felt, which does not displease, which does not torment."

(Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 45).


Hymn of Supplication to St. Patrick.

Saint Patrick, for our country pray,
Our ever faithful land,
Whose martyred hosts so gloriously
Before Gods great throne stand;
Look down upon thy children here,
Look down upon our race.
And bless, dear Saint, this little isle
And each one's native place.

From foes without, from fears within,
From every evil, every sin,
Saint Patrick, set us free.

Oh, hear us, Patrick, while we pray,
Thou art our own dear Saint,
Uphold the weak, protect the young,
Strengthen the souls that faint;
Thou knowest how we are tempted still,
Thou knowest how we are tried,
Thou knowest that we are faithful too,
Whatever ills betide.

From foes without, from fears within,
From every evil, every sin,
Saint Patrick, set us free.

Oh, help our poor in patient love
To bear their suffering life,
To think of that great victory
Which cometh after strife;
Keep from them all revengeful thoughts
When'er they suffer wrong--
The meek alone are crowned in heaven,
And heaven will come ere long.

From foes without, from fears within,
From every evil, every sin,
Saint Patrick, set us free.

We are thy children, blessed Saint,
The children of thy love;
We know how mighty is thy prayer,
How it was heard above;
Pray for us now, for priest and nun
For rich men and for poor,
That to the end, however tried,
Our Faith may still endure.

From foes without, from fears within,
From every evil, every sin,
Saint Patrick, set us free.

"We herby grant an Indulgence of Forty Days to all who shall devoutly recite the Hymn of St. Patrick with one Hail Mary." Archbishop Henry Edward, February 20, 1868


St. Patrick's Day Music now playing:
Gaelic Hymn: "Ag Criost an Siol" followed by
"Be Thou My Vision" (6th Century Irish Hymn).

Lyrics for Ag Croist an Soil

To Christ the seed, to Christ the crop,
In barn of Christ may we be brought.
To Christ the sea, to Christ the fish,
In nets of Christ may we be caught.

From growth to age, from age to death,
Thy two arms here, O Christ, about us.
From death to end, not end but growth,
In blessed Paradise may we be.