RN’s St. Patrick’s Day message:

IT HAS been said that on Saint Patrick’s Day everyone is an Irishman. As one whose ancestors came to America from Ireland, I wish all the Irish–including those who are Irish for only today–a happy and memorable Saint Patrick’s Day.

The life of this national hero and great saint is filled with the power of love. Having been a slave for 6 years, he knew what it was to love liberty. He loved his country and its people. And he devoted his life to bringing God’s word to the Irish.

These three loves–of liberty, of country, and of God have been the heritage of the Irish people wherever they have been. This heritage has enriched the world, but it has particularly enriched the United States of America. In labor, in politics, in industry, in religion, in law, in military service, the Irish who have made this country their home have contributed greatly to the building of a strong and free nation.

Not to be forgotten is the great cleansing gift of Irish laughter, a gift needed today more than ever before. Recently Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of Notre Dame University, suggested that we in the United States should not be afraid to laugh at ourselves and at our troubles. The Irish have shown through the centuries that a people can be strengthened and sustained by the gift of laughter. They have shown the world that men can be serious without always being solemn.

Saint Patrick has long been recognized as representing the spirit of the Irish people. It is in this spirit, in the spirit of liberty and laughter and love of country and of God, I say to all Irishmen today, whatever their country, Eireann Go Bragh.