Whether you’re Irish or not, everyone seems to love St. Patrick’s Day. How could they not? It’s an annual invitation to don some green, add a lilt to one’s speech, and put a jig in one’s step. Spreading Irish cheer is as strong a mandate on St. Paddy’s Day as waving at a parade or dosey-doeing at a square dance. And no one deserves (or perhaps needs) an infusion of good ole cheer as much as the elderly.
As part of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Campus Ministry program, STA students make weekly visits to St. Ann’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, its next door neighbor on Dover Point Rd. This week, the students brought with them some beautifully decorated St. Patrick’s Day cards, courtesy of Mrs. Maskwa’s Art students. Leprechauns, pots ‘o gold filled with glitter, and green/white/orange flags were carried by our Saintly messengers to St. Ann’s and found their way into hands enfeebled by time. Smiles and nods of appreciation came as the elderly residents felt the joy that comes with receiving something shiny and special.
The partnership between St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Ann’s Nursing Facility is a longstanding one. Initiated by Theology teacher Mr. Patrick McCafferty years ago, a beautiful relationship has bloomed between STA and St. Ann’s. However, the true connection between the adolescents and the elderly cannot be fully appreciated unless witnessed in person. Our students’ youthful energy, quick smiles, and spontaneous laughter are magic wands to tired bodes, frail minds and lonely spirits.
At the heart of Irish culture is wit, language, and faith. All three of these cultural treasures were packaged this week as cards, gifted as timeless souvenirs of friendship, and served as God's reminder that He holds us all in the palm of His hand.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.