An Iconic Image for St. Patrick's Day

An Iconic Image for St. Patrick's Day

As you are probably aware, St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. There are many fun and interesting stories surrounding St. Patrick's role in Ireland...but one of the more "iconic" images that always comes to the top of my mind is that of St. Patrick holding a three-leafed clover as he taught the Irish people about the Holy Trinity: three leaves for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The simplicity of this image is a fun way to incorporate our faith into this holiday that is often overrun with corned beef, beer and green everything.

Another "iconic" image I draw to mind at St. Patrick's Day is that of a small church in the Irish Sea.

This church, which has been run by the Oblates since 1944, was named after two holy women: Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Winefride. Built in the 1930s, the church sits at the edge of the Irish Sea on the island of Anglesey in North Wales.

But what makes this Oblate church iconic? Once you see it, you'll never forget it! You see, the architectural jewel was designed by a former Italian prisoner of war to look like an upturned boat, complete with portholes. A perfect design for a church that is nestled between land and sea.

Ironically, the boat-shaped church closed in 2004 because the cement structure was leaking - moisture damage became so bad the church was considered a hazard.

When Fr. Declan O'Keeffe, O.M.I. locked the church doors for the last time in 2004, there was little hope that it would reopen. Plaster fell from the ceilings. The electrics were outdated and dangerous. And moisture threatened the ship-like structure.

The parishioners of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Winefride were devastated to be without a parish "home." But they never lost hope. Over the course of seven years, a group of faithful an determined parishioners secured funding to have their church restored. Funding came from Oblate benefactors, private donors, the National Churches Trust and the local community. A remarkable feat for a remarkable church!

When I think of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Winefride there at the edge of the Irish Sea, I certainly don't think the parishioners were touched by the "luck of the Irish." Those determined men and women were filled with pure and simple faith. They were guided by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in order to restore their faith community. The parish is truly a gift from God!

This St. Patrick's Day, I want you to be a part of the faith community of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Winefride.

St. Patrick's Day Prayer Petitions

Your intentions will be sent to THREE places to be remembered in prayer during our special St. Patrick Mass Novenas: Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Winefride; Shrine of Our Lady of Knock and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

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St. Patrick's Devotional Gifts

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St. Patrick's Day Card

When you send one of the St. Patrick's Day cards, you and your loved ones will be prayed for in THREE special places: Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Winefride; Our Lady of Knock Shrine in Ireland and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows here in Belleville, Illinois.

   

St. Patrick's Votive Candles

   

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