St. Patrick is an English missionary and Apostle to the nation of Ireland. He was captured by Irish pirates as a young boy. St. Patrick is a Christian hero that your children will enjoy learning about.
In a day where our heroes are robots, terminators, or men lacking integrity, it is so good to learn about a true hero, brave in every situation.
Patrick was born in English during Roman times. Patrick was enjoying life in a Roman colony seaside village. His father was a priest in the Celtic church, but Patrick did not want to serve God like his parents did. It took a disaster to bring him to the Lord.
One day, Irish pirates stormed Patrick's seaside village and killed many of the inhabitants. At the young age of fourteen, he was kidnapped, taken as a slave to Ireland, and worked as a shepherd. Ireland was a land of pagans and Druids who worshiped idols. Patrick was very homesick.
During his captivity, he remembered his parent's faith in God and surrendered his life to Jesus as Lord and Savior. He grew closer to the Lord during these years and did his best to be a shining light for His Messiah.
Called to the Irish
One night, God spoke to Patrick in a dream to go to the coast so he could leave Ireland. Patrick waited on the Lord for the right timing. Finally, an opportunity came for Patrick to make his escape, so he made his way to a port city where he caught a ship bound for freedom. Sailors, who took pity on him, smuggled him aboard the ship sailing for England. He was reunited with his family, to his great joy!
During this time of happiness to be home again, Patrick had another dream. In this dream, the people of Ireland were begging him to come back to Ireland. His heart was moved with compassion for those poor Irishmen and women who would die in their sins. A burden to share the Gospel with the Irish began to beat in his heart.
So, he began his preparation for the priesthood and his call as a missionary to Ireland. Patrick spent almost twenty years in preparation.
Ministry in Ireland
The first power encounter Patrick had was in Tara, where many kings, chiefs, and Druid priests were celebrating Beltine, a pagan festival. This evil celebration happened to coincide with Easter that year, so Patrick resolutely decided to take a stand. While the pagans celebrated inside a castle, Patrick set up camp to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus in full view of the castle.
There was a law of the land that on the eve of the festival, the high king would light a giant bonfire FIRST. If anyone dared to light a bonfire before the high king lit his, that person would be put to death. Patrick boldly lit his own bonfire first.
Outraged, the high king summoned Patrick. The king's companions, Druid priests began to mock the Christian faith with dirty language and vicious threats. A holy boldness came over Patrick, who confronted the priests fearlessly with God's Word. The first priest was hurled into the air and smashed to the ground by an "unseen force."
The king was furious and yelled, "Seize him!"
"Let God arise and His enemies be scattered," Patrick quoted Scripture again.
In response to his cry, darkness fell, the ground shook, and confusion reigned. Soldiers of the king began to attack one another, while frightened horses smashed chariots to get away. The terrified king knelt down and surrendered his life to Christ.
Patrick lived true to his vow of poverty and traveled throughout the island for forty years of productive ministry. Many of his disciples became famous theologians and enjoyed fruitful labor in the Kingdom of God.
He used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, which is why it is associated with St. Patrick's Day. Humble and godly, St. Patrick changed the course of an entire nation. Today, the whole world celebrates this apostle to the Emerald Isle.
Here are some fun ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
- Decorate a map of Ireland with tiny little gold crosses to represent God bringing salvation to the Irish through St. Patrick. First, label the major cities, rivers, lakes, and mountains
- Trace St. Patrick's life on a map of Europe
- Plan a vacation to Ireland: search for flights, hotels, tourist sights, and more
- Eat potatoes
- Make Irish Stew
- Research what life was like in the Roman Colony of Britain
- Dress up like a British child in St. Patrick's time
- Make Shamrock cookies out of green sugar cookie dough
- Make a booklet about the life and ministry of St. Patrick
- Do some more research on this amazing man
- Act out some of Patrick's power encounters and videotape
- Explain the trinity using a shamrock like St. Patrick did
- Read St. Patrick's Confessions
- Learn about the Celtic Church
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)