Sunday, March 13, 2016

Feast Day Celebrations: St. Patrick's Day

We love celebrating saint's feast days with fun and simple crafts, food, and activities.  And the next one is a big one: St. Patrick's Day on March 17th! 

St. Patrick's Life Story

St. Patrick was kidnapped from his home in the British Isles as a youth and was then sold into slavery in Ireland.  He worked as a shepherd for his master, and during his long days alone with his sheep, he grew deeper in his relationship with God through prayer.

After many years as a slave, Patrick had a dream that indicated that he would be able to escape.  He fled from his master in Ireland and boarded a ship he found that was heading to Europe.  He was eventually reunited with his family.  But upon returning home, he knew he was being called to return to Ireland to teach them about Christianity because of a message he received in a dream: “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.”

Patrick set out to follow this call.  He studied to become a priest and was eventually ordained a bishop.  He was then sent as a missionary to Ireland where over the course of a very difficult 30 years (where his life was constantly threatened), he converted all of Ireland to Christianity.

What an amazing life for Christ that St. Patrick had!  To celebrate and teach the kids more about this amazing saint's life and how he served Christ, here are the fun things you can do easily at home:

Trinity Clover Craft
(This craft takes 15-20 minutes - parent with child assistance)

St. Patrick used a 3 leaf clover to teach the people of Ireland about the Trinity.  One leaf for each of the Three Persons in One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

So we made our own Trinity clovers!  I got the idea from Christianity Cove.  Each leaf is a heart made out of green construction paper (that I traced from a large cookie cutter) and the stem is a popsicle stick.

My 3 kids showing off their Trinity Clovers!

The Heart represents God the Father, the Cross for God the Son, and the Dove for God the Holy Spirit.  (I used a cookie cutter to trace the heart, a ruler to draw a simple Cross, and this free clipart for the dove.)

After everything was cut out, we glued the leaves to the stem and then glued the symbols to each leaf - all the while we talked about the Trinity and what each of the symbols meant!

Since we're Catholic, the kids quickly connected this Trinity Clover craft with the Sign of the Cross.  I just love hands on crafts because they always help them to more easily remember what they've been taught!

Wearing their St. Patrick's Breastplate armor!

St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer & Craft
(This craft takes 15-20 minutes - parent with child assistance)

There is a famous prayer of his called St. Patrick's Breastplate (see below).  So we decided to make our own armor for Christ with his prayer!

For the armor, I cut out the sides of a paper sack and then a hole in the base of the sack for the kids' heads to fit through.  (For more detailed instructions, please click on how we made our St. Juan Diego tilmas - we made them the same way!)

For the prayer, I made up a simple coloring page (above) with St. Patrick's Breastplate prayer written out on a shield with a simple three leaf clover.  Here is the printable version of St. Patrick's Breastplate shield coloring page so you and your kids can make it too!

The kids colored the prayer, we cut it out, and then we glued it to the face of their paper sack armor.  They are now ready to go to battle for Christ!

Christ above me!
St. Patrick's Breastplate Activity

Ok, we didn't really battle.  But we did play a little game with the prayer!

St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer is full of actions.  So the kids grabbed a Crucifix (one that was a craft and the other one was a nice, wooden one), and they acted out each part of the prayer as I read it to them.

Christ when I lie down!

They really loved this game!  It helped them to understand the prayer better and also to really visualize how Christ is with us everywhere & at all times and how we need to be a holy, Christian example to everyone we meet!

Christ in every ear that hears me!

St. Patrick's Day Food

This is really easy.  Just find any food that is green and can be cut or made into a circle or clover: kiwi; pickles; peas; spinach; green M&Ms; pancakes dyed green; cinnamon rolls, cookies, or cupcakes with green icing; etc.  We happened to have kiwi so that's what we used:

So during lunch, we talked about the how St. Patrick used the clover to represent the Trinity and what the Trinity is.  Food is always a great way to help kids learn!  How can you forget a lesson that is so delicious?!

St. Patrick's Day Book and Movie

Below I have posted 2 affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on any of those links. Please see the disclosure page for more info! 

Our two favorites are:

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola.  He has so many excellent books on different Bible stories, Christ, and the saints.  We especially love his illustrations!

And we love Patrick: Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle by CCC of America.  I've said it many times before - we love the movies by this company!  They do a great job of telling and teaching the stories of saints and showing how their lives point us to Christ.  And the story of St. Patrick is not an exception.  You should definitely check it out!

(And from now until Easter, you can get 40% off and free shipping for any of their saint movies with the code EASTER40!)

I can't tell you how much we've grown together as a family through celebrating the saint's feast days over the past few months.  Every holy man and woman of God we've learned about has pointed us to Christ in different and beautiful ways.  I'm excited to continue this tradition with my family!

How do you plan on celebrating St. Patrick's special day this week?  Let me know if you try any of these crafts or activities - I'd love to hear all about it!

Happy Feast of St. Patrick on March 17th!  Like this brave saint, may we cling to God during trials, follow His call for us even when it's difficult, and always strive to lead everyone around us to Christ!

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I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

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