Each year we so look forward to spending the feast of St. Patrick at the Pontifical Irish College here in Rome. This is where Irish priests and seminarians live, while studying in Rome. In years’ past they’ve put on plays, prayer services and sing-a-longs, followed by a delightful celebration with homemade Irish stew and Guinness! ‘Tis a blessing to be Irish!
Despite Lockdown, this year on the feast of St. Patrick the spirit of the Irish in #Rome could not be extinguished. The religious community at St Isidore's church decorated the altar with shamrocks from their garden and sang 'Hail Glorious St Patrick' on behalf of all the Irish living in Italy!
Then at 1 pm, it was time for all the Irish to shine! They stepped out on their balconies and sang the touching, poignant tune, 'The Fields of Athenry.'
This song is set in the mid-19th century in Athenry during the Great Famine when a young man, Michael, is caught stealing corn to feed his wife, Mary, and their starving child. He was sent away on a prison ship to Botany Bay. Now separated indefinitely, husband and wife sing to each other of their love and loneliness from different parts of the world with Michael imploring Mary to "raise our child with dignity."
Warning: listen only with tissues on hand!
From the Irish Embassy: “Ambassador Colm Ó Floinn and the team at the Embassy of Ireland would like to wish all the Irish in Italy, and their families and loved ones, a very Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. We are living through a difficult period but as we celebrate our National Day, necessarily in a different way this year, we can all be inspired by the spirit of the people of Italy in confronting the grave challenge of the Corona virus. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Dhaoibh Go Léir! And so we too wish a happy St Patrick's Day to everyone, near and far, real and virtual, in Italy, Ireland and around the world. See you all next year.”
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