Throughout my life, the Feast Day of St. Patrick has been such a culturally rich experience for my family. The day began with Mass amid family and friends, usually followed by the parade and parties where Irish step dancing and uplifting music filled the air. I am thinking of these cultural and family traditions and I realize that when we are missing someone we’ve lost, those days are even more difficult to endure. Yes, the memories bring us comfort, and our faith brings comfort as we celebrate the belief that they have achieved the reward of eternal life in heaven. However, we remain here with God’s work left for us. Somehow, those special days are never the same. We learn to accept the new normal of a celebration without the people we love, the ones who made us love those holidays so much in the first place. We carry on the traditions and keep the love of these traditions alive so that the memories continue.
As we journey through this particular Lent, we are living amid a world engulfed in conflict. We think of all who are suffering in Ukraine, on the other side of our world, in Europe. The reality of the loss of life that has occurred, and the struggle that the refugees are enduring to merely survive each hour of the day seems absolutely surreal in the year 2022. There is also suffering and grief for so many others around the world, in other countries, because of hate and evil among us. The thoughts of missing my loved ones on a holiday pale in comparison and have been totally put in the back of my mind because of the gravity of the situation. What culture and traditions are being destroyed in their country? There is no normal to death or grief, that we know. However, grief that is caused by hate and evil is simply harder to endure.
As the world around them crumbles, I wonder when the children, mothers, fathers, relatives, and friends will feel the comfort of their culture and traditions alive again? Their love for religious or cultural holidays, similar to my love of St. Patrick’s Day, will never be erased. Those traditions unique to their beloved country, Ukraine, must be celebrated again.
We need to pray for God’s intercession and help. The people of the world need to pray for peace as the Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, implored us to do. We believe that love will always win over hate and that God is always with us.
In the words of St. Patrick, we pray for our world, especially for those in Ukraine, and we remember that we are all children of God.
God of All
Our God is the God of all,
The God of heaven and earth,
Of the sea and of the rivers;
The God of the sun and of the moon and of all the stars;
The God of the lofty mountains and of the lowly valleys.
He has His dwelling around heaven and earth, and sea, and all that in them is.
He inspires all, He gives life to all, He dominates all, He supports all.
He lights the light of the sun.
He furnishes the light of the night.
He has made springs in dry land . . .
He is the God of heaven and earth, of sea and rivers, of sun, moon and stars,
of the lofty mountain and the lowly valley,
the God above heaven,
and in heaven,
and under heaven.
May God hold us in the palm of His hand…
Kathleen G. McKiernan
Marketing and Communications Manager