Youth Speak New's Patrick Grant writes about his connection with the saint his parents named him after. Photo courtesy of Thad Zajdowicz via Flickr [https://flic.kr/p/agNKTt]

Speaking Out: St. Patrick among my holy heroes

By  Patrick Grant, Youth Speak News
  • March 10, 2017

My parents gave me the name Patrick after St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

I was given the name because of my family’s Irish heritage. I love being named after such an amazing saint, not just because we celebrate a day devoted to him, but also because he’s a great inspiration to me.

When I was little, I had a children’s book about the life of St. Patrick. I marvelled at the fact that he was a real person. As I grew older, I started wanting to know more about the man so I read whatever I could about him. I watched movies and videos about him.

As the story goes, St. Patrick was born into a wealthy family. He lived in Britain during his childhood and most of his teenage years. When he was 16, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was sold to a farmer as a slave to herd and tend sheep. He was held in captivity for six years.

During that time, he started developing a closer relationship with God. One night he escaped his captivity and returned to his home where his parents greeted him with open arms.

He soon started hearing God telling him to pursue priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus and years later became a bishop before being sent back to Ireland.

One of the reasons I enjoy this story is because his life was one of adventure and excitement. There are many tales about St. Patrick, some possibly true, and others possibly not.

The most famous one is him driving all the snakes from Ireland. After fasting for 40 days, St. Patrick was surrounded by hundreds of snakes. The menacing faces of the snakes angered him so much that he cast sent them to the sea, never to return.

I love adventures and exploring the world God gave us. St. Patrick heard God telling him to do something and he willingly said yes. His yes led him from Britain to Ireland and then all across the country. I pray to St. Patrick that I may have the strength to say yes to God and do what He’s calling me to do.

Every now and then, I find myself viewing the saints almost as celebrities. Human, yes, but untouchable, and us lowly folk don’t really get the chance to talk to them, let alone become friends. The saints were so holy and would never associate with a sinner like me. But it’s the exact opposite. They became saints because they realized they were sinners.

When I look at St. Patrick and the lives of the saints , I can’t help but think of them as superheroes. Here are these people doing great deeds and performing incredible miracles, all in the name of God. As Catholics, we should be looking to these “holy heroes” for guidance. They did in fact make it to Heaven, so something tells me they know a thing or two about faith.

(Grant, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Colonel Gray Sr. High School in Charlottetown, P.E.I.)

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