Why the Patrick Project?

No one looms larger in ancient Irish history or modern Irish celebration than the figure of Saint Patrick. And rightly so. The story of this runaway slave boy who used his freedom to bring faith and hope to the land of his oppression, is both fascinating and inspiring.

St-Patrick1Trafficked and mistreated, and yet discovering in the midst of his struggle what it is to be loved by God, Patrick developed a passion in his life for a world in which every life would be valued. His rugged determination to see that vision realised led to radical transformation to the social, political and spiritual climate of Ireland both in the 5th century and in the ones that followed. It also left behind for us an amazing and enduring legacy that is just as potent and inspirational today.

March 17th is one of the biggest parties in the world’s annual calendar. Over 80 million people in more than 200 countries around the world participate in its annual pageant. Without question it is a day filled with ceol agus craic, with music and fun. And we should be rightly proud of that.

But what if our ‘big day’ could be about something even more?

What if along with the music and fun, what if amidst the treats and the revelling, this great global family of ours were to use its collective strength on behalf of the sort of people Patrick gave his strength for? What if amidst our celebration we were to act together for the same sort of goals that drove Patrick’s actions? What if we were to use this day that honours our Patron Saint to also honour his vision?

If we did, if each of us were even to take a single step towards overcoming poverty, ending injustice and achieving reconciliation as part of what we do on March 17th, then we believe this one day could change the world!

To this end, in the Patrick Project, we want to retell Patrick’s inspirational story; to positively develop the way he is celebrated in Ireland and around the globe; and to harness that celebration to help do in our world what Patrick did in his.

At an individual level, very few people know the real story behind Ireland’s most famous leader. We would like to change that. At a national level, Ireland needs an inspirational banner under which issues like identity, alienation and sectarianism can be addressed by all creeds and backgrounds. We believe Saint Patrick provides that. At a local level, our and other increasingly diverse modern populations are struggling to create any real sense of togetherness. We believe St Patrick’s Day can address that.

Our goal, therefore, is to reconnect St Patrick’s Day to the ancient legacy that gave it birth; to help people discover his story,  be inspired by his life and to live out the values of his legacy for themselves. In doing this we hope to recast Patrick’s vision for a world in which every life is valued and every injustice is ended.

One day can change the world!