Evangelization: St. Patrick

 ST. PATRICK, BISHOP OF IRELAND

 

Objectives:

  1. Students should know his name and be able to tell his story.
  2. Students should know why St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.

 

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.

 

  1. Tell the story of St. Patrick:

Patrick was born in the south of Britain around 400 years after the time of Jesus. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest. Patrick, though, was a disobedient little boy – not close to the Lord at all! But, when Patrick was 16 years old, he was captured by a band of Irish slave traders and sold as a slave to a shepherd. He had to stay alone in the mountains with the sheep and there began to pray and grew close to God.

After six years as a slave, Patrick heard a voice telling him to escape to the south and he would be able to get to England. He escaped and walked 200 miles, where he caught a boat just before it left. But the boat was going to France! The boat landed in France, but the barbarians had been there too, leaving the land without people or food. Patrick and the other people were soon starving. But, Patrick prayed and that very day a herd of wild pigs came across their path, giving them plenty of meat. Patrick was able to go home to his family in Britain.

But soon Patrick again had a vision; he heard the voices of the Irish people begging him to come to them. He studied this time in France in a monastery and then was ordained a bishop and went to Ireland. He was given land and a barn by a man named Dichu; this became his church.

 Patrick traveled all over Ireland. Once he stopped at a hill where the king was having a feast. It was Pascha and Patrick lit a fire, just like we light candles. The king’s daughters became Christians. Patrick taught them about the Holy Trinity by using the shamrock (3-leafed clover). Just as there are 3 leaves in one shamrock, so there is one God with 3 Persons. (Can you name the Persons of the Holy Trinity?) A story is also told that Patrick prayed and all the snakes were driven out of Ireland. Because of these two events, Patrick is always pictured holding a shamrock with snakes slithering away from him!

Soon there were so many Christians in Ireland that more priests and bishops were needed. Patrick built many churches and monasteries. He is remembered on March 17.

 

  1. True/False Questions:

True                                                     False

            Patrick was captured and taken to Ireland.    Patrick was born in Ireland.

            Patrick was a shepherd in Ireland.                  Patrick was a lion-tamer in Ireland.

            Patrick had a vision telling him to go back     Patrick hated Ireland and never went back.

            to Ireland.

Patrick used the shamrock to tell about the    Patrick taught about the Trinity with a

            Trinity.                                                            snake.

Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland.    Patrick drove all the pigs out of Ireland.

 

  1. Talk a bit about the Holy Trinity. Who are the three Persons? Practice making the sign of the cross; what do the three fingers stand for? Practice saying “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” while making the sign of the cross until all the children can do it neatly. Do they remember what the 2 fingers lying against the hand mean? (the 2 natures of Christ, come to earth)  Look at a shamrock (Have a picture ready or cut one out of green paper.) Just as St. Patrick did, show how there are three leaves in one shamrock. So there are three Persons in one God.

 

  1. Shamrocks and snakes would make great crafts today. A great snake can be made from Rigatoni noodles, painted different colors and strung on a piece of yarn. Shamrocks out of green construction paper can be decorated; could you make St. Patrick’s Day cards to take to the nursing home? There are also dozens of great crafts for St. Patrick’s Day in catalogs like Oriental Trading, often using green foam shamrocks. Make a doorknob hanger with green foam shamrocks of ever smaller size strung on a piece of green yarn; the top one can be large enough to cut a doorknob size hole or tie the yarn around the doorknob. Pictures of things important to the story of St. Patrick can be glued to each foam shamrock – a sheep, a pig, a snake, a princess’s crown, etc. We also have icon bulletin covers of St. Patrick for your nursing home cards or largest foam shamrock.

 

  1. Close with prayer: Lord, help me to trust you even when bad things happen, as did St. Patrick.


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