COPPERAS COVE — The Knights of Columbus Copperas Cove Council 6658 held its annual Irish Dinner Celebration on Saturday in recognition of Saint Patrick.
The Rev. Chris Downey kicked off the Irish humor portion of the festivities by telling Irish jokes.
But what Saint Patrick did was no small feat; Downey said, he was a great saint who spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, and this is a celebration of his life and accomplishments in the Catholic Church.
“Over the years St. Patrick’s Day has turned into a secular celebration of the Irish holiday where folks go out and get drunk,” he said.
But the true story of Saint Patrick began when he was captured by the Romans and Christianized (circa) the late 300s, Roger “Odie” O’Dwyer said, a faithful admiral in the Knights of Columbus Council.
“The Romans educated him but then sold him into slavery and he ended up in Ireland,” O’Dwyer said. “He had a mission though, for he wanted to convert the Druids of Ireland to Catholicism and spread the word of Odin (God), just as the Romans taught him.”
According to O’Dwyer, Saint Patrick used the Shamrock plant or three leaf-clovers to explain the concept of three Gods in one, by explaining how God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were really one God.
Saint Patrick even charmed the snakes out of Ireland while on his missionary, that’s why there are no snakes there today, said Carol Golding, the wife of a 35-year Knights member.
“In fact, Saint Patrick introduced the concept of the Celtic cross to help make it easier to introduce Catholicism to Druids, and he did it with the grace of the church,” O’Dwyer said.
The Druids were big on circles and believed the source of all power came from the earth, he said.
Today in Ireland, however, St. Patrick’s Day is small change, he said. Families go to Mass then to the “local” (bar) and at 2 p.m. they go to the park — just like any other Sunday, O’Dwyer said.
“St. Patrick’s Day is also the celebration of the contributions of the Irish in America and around the world,” said Downey. “They populated early America and staffed hospitals, became laborers, miners, cops and were nuns and priests who spread the word from New York to Boston to out West. But that doesn’t matter, because on St. Patrick’s Day we’re all Irish.”