For most people, knowledge of the origins of St. Patrick's Day are limited to a story based largely on myth and folk tales, but behind those traditions is the story of the patron saint of Ireland. Under the surface of the traditional celebrations of his life are some deeper truths worth exploring.
This study encourages participants to look beyond the superficial observances of this day (e.g. the shamrocks, leprechauns, green beer, and "the wearin' of the green") and to reflect on the kind of Christian witness Saint Patrick must have been to have contributed so significantly to the spread of Christianity.
Relevant social issues are addressed as well, such as the discrimination suffered by the hundreds of thousands of Irish Catholic immigrants who flooded America's shores in the mid-nineteenth century following the Great Potato Famine. Parallels are drawn with the experiences of immigrants today.
Finally, questions are raised about why we feel the need to build up champions of faith into heroes of folklore. Participants are encouraged to "redesign" St. Patrick's day as a celebration of his accomplishments as a man of faith rather than as an excuse for a day of secular revelry.