Sunday 5 April 2015

The Feast of Saint Patrick's First Baptism in Ireland, April 5

Although March 17 has been and gone it is interesting to note that the festival of Saint Patrick is not the only date associated with our national patron to appear on the Irish calendars. Below Canon O'Hanlon brings us the details of the commemoration of the baptism of his first Irish convert at April 5:

Feast of Saint Patrick's First Baptism, in Ireland.

This means, not the day, on which St. Patrick himself was baptized but the day on which he baptized his first convert. It seems to have been celebrated, from a very remote period, since it occurs, in the "Feilire" of St. Aengus, on the 5th day of April. From the commentary appended, we learn, that "The first baptism of Patrick" means how Sinell, the son of Finnchadh of the Ui Garchon, was the first person baptized in Ireland, by Patrick. On the 5th of April in the Martyrology of Tallagh we find entered Baptisma Patricii venit ad Hiberniam, i.e. "the Baptism of Patrick came to Ireland".  The remarkable event of St. Patrick regenerating, in the saving waters of Baptism his first Irish convert, is recorded, likewise, in the Martyrology of Donegal; and, in reference to it, the " Feilire" of St. Aengus is quoted:—

"On the great festival of the son of Cula,
Of Becan with the victory of austerity,
The first baptism of Patrick
Which he performed in Erinn."

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