St. Patrick and the Trinity

Today is the annual Southside Irish parade in Chicago which kicks off the many celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. I think for many Catholics, when they think of St. Patrick, they think of his 3-leaf clover metaphor for the Trinity. I suppose that helps for little kids, but what about us adults?

Too often the Trinity is dismissed as a mystery that we can never understand. While we can never solve the mystery of the Trinity, we can KNOW it. Doctrine is meant to help us understand. The doctrine of the Trinity helps us to understand the God in whose image we are made: a God who is, in essence, loving relationship – 3 persons in one God. This means that, as people made in God’s image, we are called to live in loving relationship with all people – to truly be community.

3-leaf clovers are fine, but the real message of the Trinity has to do with how we live. Let’s use this coming week to help our students understand that the doctrine of the Trinity calls us to live in loving relationship with one another just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are, in essence, loving relationship.

About Joe Paprocki 2757 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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