Saint Patrick's Day

Optional Memorial 17 March

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Saint Patrick's Blessing

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His Hand.

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The Story of Saint Patrick

noirmap1.gif (9063 bytes)The Patron Saint of Ireland was a bishop and missionary. He was born in Roman occupied England around the year 389  and, at the age of 16, was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland. During his captivity he turned to religion. After 6 years of labor as a shepherd, Patrick escaped by ship and returned to England determined to convert the Irish to Christianity. This goal led him to Gaul, where he studied, and was ordained to the diaconate in 417. He spent 15 years in the church of Auxerre. His first nomination as bishop to the Irish was rejected because of a sin in his youth. On the death of Palladius, first bishop to the Irish, Patrick was ordained a bishop in 432 and set out for Ireland.

Although opposed by priests of the indigenous religion, Patrick secured toleration for Christians, and through active preaching, made converts among the royal families. He developed a native clergy, fostered the growth of monasticism, established dioceses, and held church councils. Patrick was a strong Trinitarian, and used the Shamrock to explain the doctrine of a Triune God to his converts. Although not particularly noted as a man of learning, as were his contemporaries Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose, Patrick was a man of great conviction, great energy, great charity; he combined great visionary power with a practical sense and a soldierly audacity. He was a saint because he loved men and loved God. He brought Christianity to a people beyond the limit of the Roman world. He dedicated his prime of life to making himself fit as a missionary, and he felt himself possessed by a spirit urging him to go back amongst a people who had held him as a slave.

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Saint Patrick in America

The first Irish celebrations that took place in his honor, on the date of his death, were noisy affairs in Ireland. Those Irish who immigrated to America took the celebration with them. They were not going to forget their Saint Patrick on March 17. Saint Patrick's Day has been celebrated in North America since 1737.

It all began when some Irish in Boston took to the streets to celebrate the formation of an Irish Charitable Society. They can now lay claim to being the first parade. Today Saint Patrick's Day boasts of the largest number of ethnic celebrations in North America. New Orleans remembers him with two of the now 122 parades for Ireland's Patron Saint.

The biggest parade, held in New York city, originated in 1762 when a group of Irish born militia, on their way to a breakfast celebrating Saint Patrick,s Day, staged an impromptu march through the streets of Colonial New York with their regimental band. They've been marching ever since.

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jumpinlp.gif (27092 bytes)Irish Recipes
(Worth their weight in gold)

lepr-a.gif (12439 bytes)Corned beef and cabbage

Some people prefer turnips to onions, and some stick a clove or two in the onion that cooks with the brisket, so you see there are a number of options.
1  corned brisket of beef (about 4 pounds)
Water to cover
1 onion
6 carrots, peeled
6 potatoes, peeled
12 small onions or 6 small turnips, peeled
1 medium head cabbage
Prepared mustard
Wash brisket and put into an 8-quart Dutch oven. Cover with cold water and add the onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, 3 to 3 hours. Remove meat to platter. Add carrots, potatoes, and small onions or turnips. Cook 15 minutes. Trim cabbage and cut into 6 wedges. Add to vegetables and continue cooking 15 minutes longer. Slice corned beef crosswise of the grain and serve 2 slices corned beef with a potato, carrot, onion (or turnip), and cabbage wedge. Always serve mustard, horse radish, and vinegar as condiments. Makes 6 servings with corned beef left over.

lepr-a.gif (12439 bytes)Irish Soda Bread

Traditionally, soda bread is baked over a peat fire in a three-legged iron pot that can be raised or lowered over the fire in the old-fashioned way. Soda bread is very different from any other bread you can find in the world. It's round, with a cross cut in the top, and it has a velvety texture, quite unlike yeast bread, and the most distinctive and delicious taste. Sliced paper thin and buttered, it is one of the best tea or breakfast breads I know, and it makes wonderful toast for any meal.
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 level teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon double-acting baking powder
l to 2 cups buttermilk
Combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to distribute the soda and baking powder, then add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough, similar in quality to biscuit dough but firm enough to hold its shape. Knead on a lightly floured board for 2 or 3 minutes, until quite smooth and velvety. Form into a round loaf and place in a well-buttered 8-inch cake pan or on a well-buttered cookie sheet. Cut a cross on the top of the loaf with a very sharp, floured knife. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when rapped with the knuckles. (The cross will have spread open, which is characteristic of soda bread.) Let the loaf cool before slicing very thin; soda bread must never be cut thick.


For white soda bread, use 4 cups all-purpose flour, preferably un- bleached, and the same amounts of salt and baking powder called for in the master recipe, but decrease the baking soda to teaspoon. Otherwise, the bread is prepared in exactly the same way as in the master recipe.

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Slice Thin

lepr-a.gif (12439 bytes)Irish Lamb Stew

The late Maura Laverty, of Irish cookery fame, says of Irish Lamb stew, "the potatoes should be cooked to a pulp. " You can make more than one layer of meat and potatoes and onion, if you wish, but always end with potatoes.
3 pounds lamb stew meat with bones or 2 pounds boneless
1 cup frozen small white onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
4 potatoes
Water to cover
Put lamb in a 2 -quart saucepan. Add onions, parsley, thyme, and salt. Peel potatoes, cut in halves, and place on meat and onions. Put in water just barely to cover meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hours or until meat is tender. Makes 4 servings.

lepr-a.gif (12439 bytes)Irish Coffee

Irish Whiskey is produced only in Ireland, and like Scotch, is a blended whiskey containing both barley malt whiskeys and grain whiskeys. Unlike Scotch, however, the malt is dried in coal-fired kilns and the aroma of the fires does not reach the malt. Irish whiskey is heavier and more full-bodied than Scotch.
Into a pre-warmed 8 oz. stemmed glass ( or coffee cup) pour 1 oz. Irish Whiskey. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons sugar and fill to within inch of the top with hot black coffee. Stir to dissolve sugar. Float to brim with chilled whipped cream. Do not stir. Drink through floating cream.

For variation, substitute for the sugar: brown sugar or Kahula.

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