Belief Beat

The clergy abuse scandal continues to plague the Catholic Church in Ireland (and Philadelphia, Los Angeles & Mexico, etc.), but the country’s patron saint still gets his due today — green beer, Shamrock Shakes, “Kiss Me I’m Irish” pins and all. Here are some faith-related links:

It’s also worth reading the Boston Globe story about the “Liturgy of Lament and Repentance” that took place with abuse victims in Dublin last month. During the service, Boston Cardinal Sean  P. O’Malley, one of the officials appointed by Pope Benedict last year review the Dublin archdiocese’s response to the abuse, included these remarks about St. Patrick:

The O’Malleys hail from County Mayo, a part of Ireland that was hallowed by St. Patrick’s ministry there. They tell the story of a dramatic conversion of an Irish chieftain by the name of Ossian. A huge crowd assembled in a field to witness his baptism. St. Patrick arrived in his Bishop’s vestments with his miter and staff. St. Patrick stuck his staff in the ground and began to preach a long sermon on the Catholic faith. The people noted that Ossian, who was standing directly in front of St. Patrick, began to sweat profusely, he grew pale and fainted dead away. Some people rushed over to help and they discovered to everyone’s horror that St. Patrick had driven his staff through the man’s foot.

When they were able to revive Ossian they said to him, “Why did you not say something?” And the fierce warrior replied , “I thought that it was part of the ceremony.”

The warrior did not understand too much about liturgy and rituals, but he did understand that discipleship is often difficult. It means carrying the Cross. It is a costly grace and often we fall down on the job.

Check back for updates,and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

*Click here to subscribe to Belief Beat and click here to follow Belief Beat on Twitter.