Happy not-St Patrick’s Day

Google logo for St Patrick's Day
Google’s logo today, celebrating St Patrick’s Day … which isn’t today this year

Ordinarily today would be St Patrick’s Day, it being the seventeenth of March. However, as this is now Holy Week which kind of trumps all other lesser festivals, it isn’t.

The Roman Catholic Church moved his feast to Saturday 15 March this year, the Scottish Episcopal Church have moved celebration of his life and witness to the earliest opportunity following Holy Week and Easter Week, which is (I’m not kidding) Tuesday 1 April.

According to the Irish Independent newspaper:

In strict accordance with the rules, this year’s St Patrick’s Day should have been moved to the next available day in the Church calendar, Tuesday, April 1.

However, senior clerics were anxious to keep the date as close as possible to the international civic celebrations, which are often planned many years in advance.

After much deliberation, Rome gave Irish authorities the green light to shift the official religious celebrations two days back to March 15, which falls on a Saturday.


In the Scottish Episcopal Church calendar all festivals (also called “feast days”) are categorised with a number from 1 to 6, with 1 being highest.

Sundays in Advent are category 1, as is Christmas Day, The Epiphany, Sundays in Lent, every day in Holy Week, Easter Day and Pentecost.

Christmas Eve is a category 2, so are the Annunciation and Trinity Sunday. There don’t appear to be many category 2 festivals.

Most ordinary Sundays (i.e. those that are not major festivals) are given a category 3, and major saints a category 4, such as the Apostles, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and certain national saints (such as St Patrick).

Category 5 is reserved for the likes of Corpus Christi, the Birth of Mary, Mother of the Lord, Holy Cross Day and All Souls Day.

The rest of the saintly masses (lesser saints and commemorations) are bundled into category 6.


So according to the notes to the “Guide to the use of the Calendar and Lectionary during 2007-08”:

Patrick, Bishop (17 March) and Joseph of Nazareth (19 March) falling in Holy Week are transferred respectively to the Tuesday and Wednesday after the Second Sunday of Easter (1 April and 2 April).

But why not transfer these festivals to the Monday and Tuesday? Because the Annunciation of the Lord (a category 2 feast) already falls on that day!

Simple, huh!

Anyway, Happy not-St Patrick’s Day.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

2 thoughts on “Happy not-St Patrick’s Day”

  1. I din’t know that St Patrick’s Day had been moved, and clearly nor did our Irish owned contractors, Murphy Pipelines, who announced they were all off to the pub for the day at lunchtime!


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