Do you come from Irish descent? If so, you’re not alone. 34 million Americans have Irish in their DNA. That is seven times the population of Ireland itself. Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s a day known for wearing green, drinking Guinness, and parades in big cities, but there is a man associated with this day—Patrick.
Patrick was a Jesus follower. It is not common for protestant or evangelical churches to pause to talk about a church father or missionary, particularly one that Roman Catholic’s have adopted as their own. Growing up in the Catholic church I didn’t know any different. However, Patrick lived at a time when the established Catholic church was in its infancy and he was far enough removed from its influence. Evangelical churches aren’t about venerating saints for it believe that all genuine followers of Jesus are “saints” in the “holy” sense of the word (e.g., Acts 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2).
Sometimes it is hard to separate the man from the myth. Over the years many embellished stories were told about Patrick, even by the church. It is good to remember that Patrick was just a man—an ordinary man extraordinarily used by God.
Here are seven common myths about Patrick:
- He wasn’t Irish. He was actually born in British.
- His real name wasn’t Patrick. He had a Roman name—Maewyn Succat.
- He didn’t wear lots of green nor funny bishops hats.
- His first trip to Ireland wasn’t as a missionary nor was he Ireland’s first missionary.
- He didn’t identify with the Roman Catholic nor was he officially canonized by a pope or the church as a saint.
- He didn’t use the shamrock to teach luck, rather he may have used it to teach the Trinity.
- He is memorialized on March 17th, but we aren’t sure of the actual date of his death.
Tomorrow, I will peek into the life and mission of the real Patrick. I will share about his amazing story and legacy. It is worth knowing about!