Who Is Patrick? And Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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About 250 years ago in Boston and New York, Irish immigrants held informal commemorations of an otherwise obscure canonized saint. Today, Saint Patrick is widely known in Catholic and Protestant circles and cultural celebrations of Irish-ness occur every year. Indeed, at 249 years, New York City's annual parade is the oldest in the world, and a classic civic institution, beating the famed Thanksgiving Day Parade by over a century. But who is Patrick, and why do we celebrate Saint Patrick's Day? Well, let's start with the man himself.

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Michael Harrell is a former staff member and current volunteer at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Federal Way, Washington. A blogger by hobby and social media manager by trade, he continues to teach the faith to ninth graders when he's not busy watching movies or theatre. He loves the Seattle Mariners, and his wife wants you to know he's married. You can follow him on Twitter.