I worked today. And enjoyed an enlightening conversation with a co-worker. It started simply by me telling him that we had gone to the St Patrick’s Day parade in uptown this past weekend. He explained that he had never been. He is a New Orleans native, so it was surprising to me that he had NEVER been to this parade. After expressing my surprise, I received an education about the Catholic faith as related to saints 🙂
I have never really thought about St Patrick’s Day – other than the fact that it is also my grandmother’s birthday, you have to wear green, and it is somehow a celebration for the Irish. Things I didn’t know…..Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland…he “Christianized” Ireland…Saint Patrick died on March 17 in A.D. 461…the legend states that he also drove all the snakes out of Ireland (but there are no snakes that are native to Ireland…the first St Patrick’s Day in America was celebrated in Boston in 1737…the shamrock is supposedly used by St Patrick to explain the Trinity. WOW! That was a lot of information for a 30 minute lunch conversation. But it did not stop there.
Why doesn’t he celebrate St Patrick’s Day? He’s not Irish – he is Italian. Did you know that St. Joseph’s Day is March 19th. There’s even a St Joseph’s Day parade 🙂 Ok so then I proceed to ask a question. Who is St Joseph? DUH!! The step-father of Jesus!!!! Some interesting facts….March 19th is said to be Joseph’s birthday….he is considered the protector of the Holy family…Italian Catholics started praying to St Joseph to protect their families during a famine in Sicily…Italain families and churches set up St Joseph altars yearly as offerings to St Joseph for his protection…St Joseph altars are made of different foods…all the food used to make the altar are given to the poor. There are numerous St Joseph Altars around the city of New Orleans that you can see this weekend.
I love learning about and experiencing other cultures. I love that the girls are getting to experience the many cultures of this city. I am learning that I don’t have to agree with all the beliefs or traditions of a people group to love them like Jesus!