Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) made the following statement on Sunday, March 10, 2019:
The St. Patrick’s Day Parades across the country are great expressions of faith; celebrations of our rich Irish heritage and above all, a recognition of a saint who transformed not only Ireland but the world.
So special thanks to Jamie McManus and the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee for providing a way for us to honor, revere and praise one of the greatest saints in all of Christendom.
And thank you for your leadership and generosity in supporting local charities particularly this year’s beneficiary Lunch Break of Red Bank.
St. Patrick, born in 387, endured six years of slavery in Ireland as a child yet went back after a daring escape to face unremitting danger and crushing setback only to persevere with an indomitable will to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sin and the way of salvation.
With profound simplicity, St. Patrick explained the difficult doctrine of the Holy Trinity with a metaphor—the shamrock. By some estimates, he went on to consecrate no fewer than 350 bishops and establish several hundred churches in a land rife with paganism and druids.
Ever humble and attributing all success to God, St. Patrick wrote in the Confession: “So how is it that in Ireland, where they never had any knowledge of God but always, until now, cherished idols and unclean things, they have become a people of the Lord, and are called children of God… .”
Concerning his many trials, he said “God watched over me… he protected me and consoled me as a father would his son therefore I cannot keep silent… our way to repay him is to exalt Him and confess His wonders before every nation under heaven.”
Today, countless believers—not just in Ireland or of Irish decent—trace their Christian roots to St. Patrick’s faithfulness and the Irish missionaries he inspired over the course of centuries who took the gospel worldwide—some even to the point of martyrdom.
Today, countless souls are citizens of heaven experiencing the infinite love of God and the fellowship of the angels and saints—including St. Patrick himself—because of this mighty bishop.
Like many others, my wife Marie and I are the happy beneficiaries of St. Patrick’s evangelization.
Both of us trace our roots to counties Claire and Cavan—that would be Smith, O’Reilly and Troy—and the Catholic faith that was and remains the centerpiece of our lives.
Of course, the gospel that St. Patrick taught comes with serious obligations to protect the weakest and most vulnerable. Jesus admonished us in Matthew 25 to treat the “least of these”—the weakest and most vulnerable—as we would God.
St. Patrick transformed the world.