The Feast Day of Saint Patrick

March 17 is the Feast Day of Saint Patrick, one of the Church’s great evangelizing saints. 

Although he is the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain in the fifth century. When he was a teenager, he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep.  It was during this time, that he discovered his own faith, finding strength through his relationship with God.

Saint Patrick’s enslavement lasted for six years until he had a dream in which he was told to escape by going by way of the coast.  He successfully made it back to Britain, but after a few years, he had a vision in which a man came to him from Ireland and gave him a letter with the heading ‘"The Voice of the Irish."  In his spiritual autobiography, the Confessio, Saint Patrick said that, at that moment, he heard the Irish people crying out, "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us."

It led Patrick to further his education and study for the priesthood.  He would later be ordained a bishop and was appointed as successor to Saint Palladius, the first bishop of Ireland.   Saint Patrick spent the rest of his life bringing the Good News of the Gospel to the people of Ireland, which was a pagan country at the time.  He is believed to have used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, and the shamrock remains associated with the saint and the Trinity to this day.

The prayer “Breastplate” is attributed to Saint Patrick.  It reads in part: "Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."

Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461. He is now the patron saint of Ireland and is known as the Apostle of Ireland.

Saint Patrick and the Diocese of Portland

The feast day holds special significance in the Diocese of Portland because St. Patrick, along with St. Jean Baptiste, is a secondary patron of the Diocese of Portland, chosen because French missionaries and, later, French and Irish immigrants brought the Catholic faith to Maine and helped it take root and grow. Saint Patrick Church in Newcastle was the first church in the country named for Saint Patrick. It was dedicated by Father Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus on July 17, 1808, a year before the cornerstone was laid for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The original Saint Patrick Church has been in continual use longer than any other Catholic church in New England.

Maine Celebrations

Saturday, March 16

Holy Family Church Hall, Lewiston

Prince of Peace Parish will hold its annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner on Saturday, March 16, at 5 p.m. in the hall of Holy Family Church, 607 Sabattus Street in Lewiston. The dinner will feature corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, a beverage and dessert. The cost is $12 for adults and $7 for children under 12.  The dinner is co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Ticket sales are limited to 200. FMI: 207-777-1200 or [email protected].

St. John Church, Bangor

The Knights of Columbus are hosting a St. Patrick's Dinner on Saturday, March 16 in the hall of St. John Church (217 York Street, Bangor) following the 4:00 pm Mass. A traditional Irish feast of corned beef, ham, cabbage, potatoes and MORE will be enjoyed, with musical entertainment provided by parishioners. Tickets are on sale after weekend Masses or may be purchased in the parish office, $15/adult, $7/child. Take-out will also be available.

St. Joseph Church, Bridgton

The Knights of Columbus will serve a corned beef and cabbage dinner on Saturday, March 16, at 5 p.m., following the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Joseph Church, 225 South High Street in Bridgton. Donations will be accepted at the door with proceeds going to support the Bridgton Food Pantry.

St. Mary Church, Wells

Knights of Columbus Council 9782 will sponsor a St. Patrick's Day Dinner and Dance on Saturday, March 16, in the hall of St. Mary Church, 236 Eldridge Road in Wells. The evening begins with a social at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m. The dinner includes traditional corned beef and cabbage, plus ham. Please bring your own beverage. The cost is $30 per person. Proceeds from the dinner will go towards renovation projects at St. Mary Church. FMI: Phil Lizotte at 207-838-8738 or Tom Hussy at 207-651-2865.

St. Mary of the Visitation Church, Houlton

St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Houlton will host a St. Patrick's Day Dinner in St. Anthony's Hall, 110 Military Street, on Saturday, March 16, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The dinner will feature your choice of corned beef or turkey with all the fixings and dessert.  The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $25 for a family of four or more. Takeout will be available.

St. Matthew Church Hall, Limerick

The St. Matthew Funshine Fair Committee will hold a silent auction and traditional Irish boiled dinner on  Saturday, March 16, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the hall of St. Matthew Church, 19 Dora Lane in Limerick. The meal will include corned beef, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and turnips. The cost is $15 for adults and $7 for children. Kids age 5 and under eat for free. A family can purchase a group of meals for $35.  FMI: [email protected] or 207-793-2244.

St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Scarborough

Knights of Columbus Council 11747 will hold its annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner on Saturday, March 16, 6 p.m., at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, 150 Black Point Road in Scarborough. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. Dinner will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. The menu includes traditional corned beef, boiled vegetables, and dessert. Entertainment will be provided by the Stillson School of Irish Dance. Tickets will be available at the door, but can also be purchased in advance by calling Gerry Martin at 207-317-1103 or emailing Kevin Curtis at [email protected]. The cost of the tickets is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors age 65 and older, $8 for children ages 6-16, and free for younger children.

St. Philip Church, Lyman

A St. Patrick's Day Supper will be held in the hall of St. Philip Church, 404 Goodwins Mills Road in Lyman, on Saturday, March 16, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The menu includes corned beef & cabbage, potatoes, vegetables, dessert, and a beverage. Takeout will be available. The cost is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 6 -12, and free for children under age 6.

St. Pius X Church Hall, Portland

The Knights of Columbus will hold their annual St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage Dinner on Saturday, March 16, in the hall of St. Pius X Church, 492 Ocean Avenue in Portland. Only 200 tickets will be available for the dinner, which starts at 6 p.m. The cost is $25 per person for dinner and dessert. Tickets will be available following Masses in the parish, at the parish office, and at the door. FMI: [email protected] or 207-797-7026.

Sunday, March 17

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland

Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate a St. Patrick's Day Mass on Sunday, March 17, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street in Portland.

Holy Martyrs of North America Church, Falmouth

A St. Patrick's Day potluck lunch, which will include a movie about the life of St. Patrick, will be shared on Sunday, March 17, following the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Holy Martyrs of North America Church, 266 Foreside Road in Falmouth. You can sign up on the Parish of the Holy Eucharist's website.

St. Bartholomew Church, Cape Elizabeth

St. John Paul II Parish will hold its annual Irish luncheon on Sunday, March 17, noon to 2 p.m. at St. Bartholomew Church, 8 Two Lights Road in Cape Elizabeth. Join in a celebration of heritage, faith, and community. The luncheon will feature music, activities, ticket raffles, and a hearty buffet lunch which will include corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, Irish soda bread, and desserts. Beverages include coffee, lemonade, and water. Please register to attend this festive event by contacting Angela Best at 207-233-4216 or [email protected]. The registration deadline is March 

St. Patrick Church, Newcastle

The Shamrocks of St. Patrick and the Knights of Columbus will hold their annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner on March 17 at St. Patrick Church, 380 Academy Hill Road in Newcastle. The menu includes corned beef (or chicken), cabbage, vegetables, Irish soda bread and dessert. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 17 and under. Take-out orders are available. The evening also includes Irish singing and dancing and raffles. Proceeds benefit All Saints Parish and St. John's Catholic School. Pick up tickets following weekend Masses at the church or call 207-682-0138, 207-877-3127, or 203-265-5465.