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St. Patrick and St. Paul

Fr. Rick Walsh, CSP
March 15, 2023

I’d like to share a brief reflection on the relationship between two great powerful missionary saints.

St. Paul, the patron saint of our faith community and the Paulist Fathers and St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Though they lived centuries apart and served Christ in very different climates and cultures, we can see in hindsight how truly alike they were in their work on God’s behalf. The Irish have a word for one who is considered a soulmate or a friend whose soul resonates with our own and that word is Anam Cara.

Both men came to their unique and hazardous vocations in unexpected circumstances. Prior to receiving a calling from Christ Jesus to serve Him they both had good reasons to be at enmity with the groups of people they eventually came to serve on behalf of Christ.

The then-Jewish evangelist and Pharisee, Saul despised believers in Jesus called “People of the Way.” They were hurting the unity of the Jewish people in and around the Mediterranean.

Roman citizen and teenager Patrick was kidnapped by pagan marauders from Eireann and forced him into slavery on the island Romans called Hibernia.

At first at enmity with those at the very least distrusted “others” become kindred fellow workers in God’s vineyard.

Each had the opportunity on numerous occasions to leave the missionary work they were called to, but they came to love the people God asked them to preach to and labor with. Each felt compelled to preach the cross of Christ Jesus and to share with strangers its paradoxical fruit of freedom and life, not slavery and death.

I believe our patron and the patron of the Archdiocese are working on our behalf in ways beyond our understanding that will lead to a sense of freedom and life-giving ministry.