Tomorrow is the great feast of St. Patrick, and oh, how the Irish will celebrate! Especially Irish Americans, who tend to be louder than their brothers in sisters still on the Emerald Isle. As you drive through downtown areas across the country, you will hear a lot of noise coming out of local bars, but I must say, in defense of my heritage, not all of that volume is coming from Irish mouths. Look inside, and you will see Slavs, Germans, Italians, and a dozen other ethnic groups holding firmly to tall glasses of green beer. We ALL celebrate St. Patrick’s day!
Why do we do that in this country? We don’t have a comparable national celebration for those other ethnic traditions. I have a view but can’t prove it, that when the Irish came to this country in the mid 19th century, not only were they desperately poor, but they were holding on to agonizing memories of 700 bad years. Things were tough. Things were difficult, and so many times, things seemed hopeless. But, then they would remember their patron saint, this man who transformed Ireland and brought confidence, hope, and faith to the people. That hope has survived, but frequently that confidence has been sorely challenged, and that is the situation in Ireland today. More on that next week.
Hail, glorious St. Patrick!