Happy Missionary Day

Today is another holiday that we should reclaim: St. Patrick’s Day.

Instead of just making it about Ireland, let’s make it about St. Patrick and what he did. Let’s take the opportunity to honor him by honoring all missionaries.

St. Patrick was one of many missionaries to what was then the dangerous mission field of Europe. Those of us of European heritage need to remember that our ancestors came to Christianity the same way “Third World” people did, through the dedicated work of missionaries.

Here is a good slogan for the day: “If your ancestors were Christians, thank a missionary.”

How else could we turn St. Patrick’s Day into a festival to celebrate the work of missionaries?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Thomas Cahill, in his flawed book, HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION, claims that St. Patrick is the first church-sponsored missionary to the heathen that we know of after the death of St. Paul. That means the church (apparently) went about 400 years without sending out a foreign missionary, at least on the record. Seems hard to believe. Anybody know of any missionaries Cahill overlooked?

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Thomas Cahill, in his flawed book, HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION, claims that St. Patrick is the first church-sponsored missionary to the heathen that we know of after the death of St. Paul. That means the church (apparently) went about 400 years without sending out a foreign missionary, at least on the record. Seems hard to believe. Anybody know of any missionaries Cahill overlooked?

  • Bror Erickson

    Suppose it depends on what you call a missionary. But Titus went to Crete. Iranaeus went to Gaul and evangelized the Celts there, while pastoring a small flock. I’m sure there were many other such endevors.

  • Bror Erickson

    Suppose it depends on what you call a missionary. But Titus went to Crete. Iranaeus went to Gaul and evangelized the Celts there, while pastoring a small flock. I’m sure there were many other such endevors.

  • Kyralessa

    One who comes to mind is St Nina, Equal to the Apostles:

    http://www.stnina.org/stnina/life/apostle

  • Kyralessa

    One who comes to mind is St Nina, Equal to the Apostles:

    http://www.stnina.org/stnina/life/apostle

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I thought St. Patrick was the patron saint of green beer. Who knew!?!

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I thought St. Patrick was the patron saint of green beer. Who knew!?!

  • Booklover

    Yes, let’s reclaim St. Patrick’s Day. Too many evangelicals dismiss anything prior to D.L. Moody as being too “Catholic,” and therefore ignorable.

  • Booklover

    Yes, let’s reclaim St. Patrick’s Day. Too many evangelicals dismiss anything prior to D.L. Moody as being too “Catholic,” and therefore ignorable.

  • http://www.spudart.org spudart

    That is a very interesting factoid: “St. Patrick is the first church-sponsored missionary to the heathen that we know of after the death of St. Paul.” Although that time gap is quite concerning.

    Gene, this is a great idea! Missionary Day. If the fact that St. Patrick was a missionary can be more well-known, it could be very effective, because the general public tends to think of St. Patrick is a cool dude. (not that we need our missionaries to be cool, we need them to be bold, but anyhow)

  • http://www.spudart.org spudart

    That is a very interesting factoid: “St. Patrick is the first church-sponsored missionary to the heathen that we know of after the death of St. Paul.” Although that time gap is quite concerning.

    Gene, this is a great idea! Missionary Day. If the fact that St. Patrick was a missionary can be more well-known, it could be very effective, because the general public tends to think of St. Patrick is a cool dude. (not that we need our missionaries to be cool, we need them to be bold, but anyhow)

  • organshoes

    ‘I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity by invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three.’
    Now there’s an old-timey hymn for you.
    Saints be praised!
    Maybe we could be missionaries as well, in all our own little secular spheres. St. Pat’s Day has been serially reduced: from a saint’s Day, to a strictly Roman Catholic observance to an Irish political statement, to parades (and more politics, as in who’s qualified to march and who’s not), to rivers of green and beer and partying, meanwhile with lots of misinformation about the Saint himself as some sort of half-remembered backdrop and justification for it all.
    Come to think of it, it sorta reminds me of Christmas, reduced to the Season of Commerce or a celebration of the Virtuous Homeless and Unwed Mothers.
    Yuck! Lots of room in the Mission Field for speaking truth to custom!

  • organshoes

    ‘I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity by invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three.’
    Now there’s an old-timey hymn for you.
    Saints be praised!
    Maybe we could be missionaries as well, in all our own little secular spheres. St. Pat’s Day has been serially reduced: from a saint’s Day, to a strictly Roman Catholic observance to an Irish political statement, to parades (and more politics, as in who’s qualified to march and who’s not), to rivers of green and beer and partying, meanwhile with lots of misinformation about the Saint himself as some sort of half-remembered backdrop and justification for it all.
    Come to think of it, it sorta reminds me of Christmas, reduced to the Season of Commerce or a celebration of the Virtuous Homeless and Unwed Mothers.
    Yuck! Lots of room in the Mission Field for speaking truth to custom!

  • http://www.reformationucc.org Charles

    You mean you HAVEN’T been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this way?!

    I agree with this idea and have sought to regularly mention St. Patrick in this light. Though much of the revival of Celtic interest is more the result of wishful thinking than verifiable information according to scholars like Ian Bradley, there is still much to learn!

  • http://www.reformationucc.org Charles

    You mean you HAVEN’T been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this way?!

    I agree with this idea and have sought to regularly mention St. Patrick in this light. Though much of the revival of Celtic interest is more the result of wishful thinking than verifiable information according to scholars like Ian Bradley, there is still much to learn!


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