Hello and may God bless you all.

In our Irish language here is how we say hello:

“Dia duit” – Hello/God be with you

To which one replies

“Dia agus Muire duit” – May God and Mary be with you!

To which one replies…

“Dia agus Muire agus Pádraig” – May God and Mary and St Patrick be with you!!

St Patrick is known to have brought the faith to Ireland and banished paganism.

Indeed the Irish suffered for their faith more than most nations when it became illegal to be catholic and people walked miles and miles starving with the hunger to attend mass in remote country palaces. Rocks were used as altars and to this day we have the ‘mass rocks’.

The people back then needed God and needed prayer and were not only willing to risk catching a cold as they ventured out in the cold winters on empty stomachs, they were also willing to risk their lives if they were caught by the British.

As the Coronavirus circus continues and here I am in London I can’t but feel that it’s sad that a nation which was once so rooted in prayer and Jesus’ power has now become so cold and lukewarm and the Irish government which now free of the English sees no real place for prayer or even christianity in the country or in the approach needed to battle the coronavirus.

Masses have stopped just like closing shops without any real consideration of what mass is and how prayer has an important place in fighting this virus.

Obviously the key word is balance and we need to find a balanced approach to fighting this outbreak which gives due respect to both prayer and science, faith and reason, priest and doctor.

It would seem that the most important virtue of all is prudence at this time.

And so today on the feast of Saint Patrick let us through his intercession pray for prudence for ourselves, our political leaders and our religious leaders.

May we pray especially for our priests at this time who are under a lot of pressure, may we do all we can to help them and support them and pray for them.

St Patrick, rekindle in us the love of Jesus, the power of prayer and just as you banished the snakes from Ireland through your prayer, help us to banish this virus from our countries and also the viruses of unbelief, atheism, fear and death.

Michael