By Sarah Riehm
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church
On Sunday, March 14, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church celebrates the life and legacy of its patron saint. Jim Dorian will greet people at 9:45 a.m. with traditional Irish tunes on the bagpipe. The 10 a.m. worship service features cherished Irish music.
Soloist Robert Neel will sing the lovely “Deep Peace: An Irish Blessing” in an arrangement by master English choral composer John Rutter. It begins:
“Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.”
Neel will also lead two favorite Irish hymns: “Be Thou My Vision” and “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” from a fifth century prayer attributed to St. Patrick.
Music Director Sarah Riehm will play traditional tunes on her Irish shamrock harp. After the service, the Episcopal Church Women will offer a fellowship time in the parking lot, serving Irish coffee, cocoa and traditional Irish goodies.
St. Patrick’s is observing COVID-19 safety precautions. Masks are required and seating is limited to 40. If you’d like to reserve your spot to attend this special service, call the office at 731-5801. Visitors are welcome.
St. Patrick is widely recognized to be the person who brought Christianity to Ireland. From his own autobiography, we know he was captured by pirates from his home in Britain at age 16 and taken as a slave to Ireland. He lived there for six years, taking care of animals in the lush green pastures. He finally escaped to his family back in Britain, yet the call back to Ireland was undeniable. He trained as a priest and returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. By the 17th century, Patrick was revered as the official patron saint of Ireland.
Myths and legends abound about our dear St. Patrick. He is credited for driving all the snakes out of Ireland. However, experts agree there were probably never any snakes on the island. (If only that were true in Pagosa Springs.) He is usually depicted carrying a walking staff in one hand and a sprig of shamrock in the other. Legend says that when he stopped to preach, he stuck his staff into the ground and it would turn into a living tree. The symbol for St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated each year on the anniversary of his death on March 17, has always been the shamrock. Story goes that Patrick often held up the shamrock while preaching to illustrate the renewing, ever-green power of the Holy Trinity.
No doubt the most cherished traditions around St. Patrick’s Day revolve around food and beverages. Who doesn’t love soda bread, Guinness stew, corned beef and cabbage, and a pint of good Irish beer? One overlooked yet traditional recipe for this special day is colcannon. It’s simple to make and simply delicious. Boil one pound of cabbage, one pound of potatoes and two leeks until soft. Mash with one cup of milk and a half cup of butter. Season to taste. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.