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Rome Reports

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The life and story of St Patrick, a saint kidnapped by pirates

Fr. Billy SwanPontifical Irish College (Diocese of Ferns)“I think there’s some confusion about what we are celebrating on St. Patrick’s day. The main point is not about being Irish per se, although that is part of it, it’s about mission.”A mission detailed in two letters St. Patrick wrote in the 5th century. Father Billy Swan is studying the letter’s theological and spiritual content. Father Swan says the saint details the main events in his life, particularly one that changed it all. When he was just 16 years old growing up in Britain, pirates kidnapped St. Patrick and took him to Ireland as a slave. But after six years, he managed to escape. Fr. Billy SwanPontifical Irish College (Diocese of Ferns)“And then he tells us this amazing thing that after a while of being home again he felt this calling to return to Ireland and bring the Gospel to the Irish people to the people who took him captive.”Father Swan says, his patron saint wanted to include the Irish people in the family of nations who would know God’s salvation at the end of time. But St. Patrick would face many obstacles yet he still had great success and baptized thousands of people to the Christian faith. Fr. Billy SwanPontifical Irish College (Diocese of Ferns)“His life has always fascinated me from the time I heard it as a child in school the teacher always used to tell us the story of St. Patrick and I think my admiration for his life has continued until now.”A life that’s remembered 16th centuries later every March 17th, the date believed to be the day he died. MCFF