A BOLIVIAN ST PATRICK'S DAY CELEBRATION
I was invited to Ireland, early last year, to talk about the work in Bolivia at a missions convention put together by South American Mission Society, Ireland.
The highlight of this trip were the opportunities to see the various sites associated with St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Visting the ancient cathedral from where he launched his missionary endeavours and standing next to his supposed gravesite were special experiences. Patrick was a missionary- evangelist in the best sense of the word. He was consecrated a Bishop to reach out to the various tribal groups in Ireland. His exploits, whether it was reaching out to his enemies with the gospel or praying for the sick, formed the bedrock of a strong Irish church.
St Patrick's day parades are green affairs with lots of fun and carousing. I doubt if Patrick would approve of some of the goings on in these parades.
In Bolivia we don't have a St Patricks day parade. There are two Irish pubs in Santa Cruz and they draw a crowd of merry revellers.
Maybe there's an Irishman out there who could enlighten us on the origins of these parades and the reasons for their popularity.
On a personal level the Irish are an interesting lot. This is the civilization that gave us Van Morrison, U2, Rory Gallagher, George Best, Pat Jennings, Edmund Burke etc... The irony of course is that Patrick is not Irish! He could have been Welsh. We don't really know.
Patrick continues to inspire us to evangelise and disciple the lost; he was not a fly by night hollywood style evangelist but a diligent apostolick worker amongst the people.
Lord raise up Bolivian "Patricks" to share the gospel.