I digress. In the States, St. Patrick seems to have become the patron saint of drinking. Perhaps this is the case elsewhere. I know no other day to celebrate a Christian pioneer that is celebrated with numerous pints. Somehow we lose track of Patrick and celebrate all things Irish by drenching ourselves with green beer. Although one website notes that binge drinking is normal in Ireland, I highly doubt that is for what the Irish want to have a reputation. And the cost of a pint in Ireland, I can hardly believe this is affordable behaviour.
In other Irish news- violence again erupted in the North as dissident nationalist paramilitary shot police officers. As I wrote a number of years ago in this space, the North is a complicated scenario. Peace is fragile. There will always be someone holding to the view of a fully united Ireland. The actions of this last week were certainly attempts to derail the process, to create fear and suspicions amongst those who tacitly went along with the devolved government. The New York Times article above seems to suggest that a portion of the populous of Northern Ireland would not accept these methods any longer. Sinn Fein, the major Republican political party, denounced the killings and certainly stayed true to a commitment to the political process.
Obama's comments on this.
This is the 2nd consecutive year I have not set up a pray for Ireland on St. Patrick's Day list. Business has gotten into the way. However, I continue to pray for Ireland. And certainly for a fair and just political solution in the North to come about. Here are some points to pray for Ireland in this season.
- Pray for the economy, for integrity and honesty in the financial services. Like most of the world Ireland has been hit by a slowing economy. Be courageous and pray for new wells of prosperity to open.
- Pray for the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland (the Dail and Northern Irish Assembly) to have wisdom in making difficult decisions and not be sidetracked into partisan politics. Pray for Taoiseach (Ireland Prime Minister) Brian Cowen, and Northern Ireland 1st and Deputy Ministers, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.
- Pray for spirtual revival during this time when people's hope is shaken. Pray that there would be a greater openess to Jesus and the Church would be courageous to reach out to those who are suffering.