This year for St. Patrick's Day, instead of drowning your sorrows in green beer and gorging yourself with cookies shaped like four-leafed clovers, learn a lesson from a three-leafed clover and take a step on the right direction!
Serve 4 St Patrick is a program of Orthodox Christian Fellowship aimed at bringing the focus of St. Patrick’s day back to St. Patrick and away from the traditional excessive partying that typically takes place. St. Patrick was a slave in Ireland who escaped and later returned as a bishop to teach the people of Ireland about the true faith.
Check out Orthodoxwiki for a more detailed life description: http://en.orthodoxwiki.org/Patrick_of_Ireland
Chapters should do all that they can to use St. Patrick as an example to learn, teach, and serve others. Below are some approaches your chapter can take, based on the life of the Saint, to dedicate the day to prayer, serving and learning. These suggested activities would encourage your OCF and possibly those on your campus to spend the day in more appropriate pursuits given the celebration of a Saint’s feast and being in the midst of Great Lent.
We understand that these faithful aspects may not have much meaning to many students/faculty on your campus but they should mean something to the members of your OCF. We are not attempting to "be better" than our fellow students or show them "how to really live". We are hoping to provide an alternative to our Orthodox students for their own journey--and if by their simple choices to not participate in certain activities affects someone else--then glory be to God!
St. Patrick led a prayerful life...
Why not honor St. Patrick by praying together as a chapter? You may download a supplication reader’s service, as well as one with a priest provided below. Some additional ideas you can use to shape this day to suit your own chapter’s personality -educational materials and supplements to the suggestions below may also be found here
- Act out St. Patrick’s life together. It could end up funny, and you might learn more that way.
- Cook a Lenten meal together. Make things in the shape of 3-leaf clovers! Lenten recipes are found in the supplemental materials posted here
- Utilize the General Moleben/Supplication Service for St. Patrick and the Icon of St. Patrick provided here
- Make popcorn, taking turns reading the life of St. Patrick.
- Meet your OCF for Breakfast and the Bible to talk about the life of St. Patrick and go to the local St. Patrick's Day Parade together.
- Have a discussion about how you as students can be witnesses for the faith as was St. Patrick.
- And anything else you can think of!
St. Patrick was the “Enlightener of Ireland”...
If your chapter has a strong voice on campus, a receptive campus student body, or an OCF group who likes to plan things, you may want to set up a table somewhere on campus and try the following:
- Make a St. Patrick poster
- Ask people if they know the origin for St. Patrick’s Day
- Tell those who walk by what the clover is really about (the Holy Trinity!)
- Have fliers with St. Patrick’s story on them to hand out--maybe the fliers could even be shaped like 3-leaf clovers!
- Offer to serve as a free shuttle service to fellow students who are participating in drinking on St. Patrick’s Day to ensure that your friends get home safely (Feel free to give them a pamphlet or talk to them about St. Patrick on the ride home!) If your college already provides this team up with them and sign up as a volunteer.
- Have an event with your local Orthodox Youth group (Hope, Joy, GOYA, SOYO, etc.) to make clover cookies and educate them about St. Patrick and his life.
- Join forces with your Roman Catholic Ministry on campus to create an event together.
Create an icon mural about St. Patrick that can be placed somewhere on campus to get people’s attention.
Again, this is not aimed at making anyone feel bad about what they do, or have done in the past on St. Patrick’s Day. This is simply aimed at providing your chapter with an alternative to the modern tradition and providing a learning opportunity for your chapter and others on campus if they so wish to do so.
St. Patrick ministered to the poor...
Try this if your group has connections to soup kitchens, food pantries, etc. Look to spend the day serving others:
- Organize a blood, food or clothing drive.
- Make blankets for the less fortunate in your community.
- Put together lunches for the homeless
- Help out at a shelter.
- Or anything else your chapter can contribute to the community--just remember to be creative!
After all, showing love for your neighbor is a wonderful way to praise God!
Whether your chapter chooses to simply get together and talk, or do all three of the suggestions above, keep the loving and gentle spirit of St. Patrick in mind. Aim to pray, teach with gentleness and grace, and serve and love your neighbor as St. Patrick did all his life.
Please email the Praxis Coordinator (email@example.com) with any questions or concerns about your Real St. Patrick’s Day, and God bless you and your chapter on your Lenten journey.