Saint Patrick’s Day always feels like the beginning of spring to me. It’s close enough to the vernal equinox (March 20th at 5:37 AM this year), and things are definitely greening up around here now.
March 17th is a national holiday in Ireland, recognized as the day Saint Patrick transitioned to his heavenly home, leaving behind a Christianized Ireland miraculously free from snakes!
Legend has it that when British-born Patrick was on his mission to evangelize the Irish (who had previously captured and enslaved him for many years), he went to the top of a hill to fast and pray for 40 days. While there he was attacked by a band of snakes, and in response he raised his staff against them and drove them into the sea.
While it is true that the Emerald Isle has no native population of snakes, it is probably due more to Ireland’s unique climate than to any miracle performed by Saint Patrick. After all, Ireland is not the only island nation on earth that is free from snakes. But it does make for a good legend–and a good reason to celebrate a saint known for his good works of helping the poor and lifting up the down-trodden.
Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday not only in both the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland but in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (for provincial government employees), and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, especially among the descendents of the Irish in those places. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Is that because the Irish are everywhere, or because people everywhere just appreciate the idea of this good-hearted saint? Or is it the green beer?
Here at the Trustee’s office we are celebrating spring by purchasing three new Community Pantries to be placed around Wayne Township with more to come. On Saturday, March 6, Sarah Thompson and Carlos Marcano installed one pantry in front of our office at 320 East Superior and one at Fire Station #1 at 7001 Old Trail Road. These were the eighth and ninth pantries of Forward Indiana’s project of helping those who need it, to easily find free food and giving people places to donate. In the last issue of the Waynedale News, Michael Morrisey wrote a good description of this project and a listing of the current locations. I can say that since his story the pantry at Hair Affair on Bluffton Road is now in place with artwork by Carlos Marcano, and Sarah Thompson painted her first piece on the one at our office.
Wayne Township Trustee remarked, “We know that many people are looking for ways to help others during this time of need, and these pantries are an ideal place to leave contributions of food and paper products that people can access at any time, day or night. We have already gotten a generous donation of $500 from Come As You Are Community Church that will be spent on toiletries to stock the pantry.”
This is a real collaboration of efforts of both helping others and creating public art. The Wayne Township Trustee Office is happy to be a part of what feels like spring, a positive new movement coming up across the Fort Wayne community.