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UST Goes Green For St. Patrick’s Day
2/28/2014

St. Patrick’s Day has been observed and celebrated in Ireland for over 1000 years. This celebration commemorates the life of St. Patrick and his extension of Christianity in Ireland as well as highlights Irish culture and heritage.

This year, the University of St. Thomas William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies will host a March 17 celebration with Mass celebrated by Daniel N. Cardinal DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at 10:30 a.m. in the Chapel of St. Basil followed by brunch in Jerabeck Gymnasium.  Mass is open to the public.

The cost for brunch is $25 if reserved by March 7 at noon or $30 at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Center and support study abroad scholarships.

“Our St. Patrick’s Day Celebration is one of the cornerstones of our Flynn Center for Irish Studies annual events," Lori Gallagher, director of the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies, said. "Each year we gather to celebrate the contributions of St. Patrick on March 17, his Feast Day."

Another annual UST Irish Studies tradition is for students in the UST Irish Club and UST Flynn Center for Irish Studies students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the community, to don green and march in the annual downtown Houston St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year the parade will be held on Saturday, March 15, and will start at noon from Minute Maid Park.  Others are welcome to join in the fun.

"Interestingly, the St. Patrick’s Day parade originated not in Ireland, but in the United States as early as 1762," Gallagher said.

From his own writing in his Confessio, we know that Saint Patrick was born into a Romano-British family.  Before he turned 16, Irish raiders kidnapped him and took him to Ireland as a slave, where he tended sheep for many years. In a dream, he was told by God to flee to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. After his escape, it is believed that he joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest. Later, he heard “the voice of the Irish” calling him back to Ireland.

He returned to Ireland in the fifth century, this time as a bishop, to further the conversion of the Irish from their native polytheism. Folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people.

“St. Patrick is revered by Catholics and Protestants alike for his extensive mission in Ireland, where he converted many people to Christianity and spread the faith against difficult odds, including death threats, imprisonment and great hardship,” Gallagher said.

The William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas is the only Irish studies academic and cultural program in the Southwest. Listed as one of the top 10 Irish Studies programs in the country, the Center represents people who are enrolled in the Irish Studies minor, the graduate concentration in the Master in Liberal Arts Program and those interested in Irish and Northern Irish topics.

Contact Lori Gallagher at 713-525-3592 or irishstudies@stthom.edu for reservations.


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