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St. Patrick's Day a Community Effort in Saint Patrick, Missouri

Hundreds of people celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day this year in Saint Patrick, Missouri. The annual celebration requires a big commitment from a small group of people.

Credit Jason Parrott
Shrine of Saint Patrick in Saint Patrick, Missouri

Saint Patrick is a small, unincorporated community in southern Clark County. The two most recognizable buildings sit right next to each other: the post office/Irish-themed gift shop and the Shrine of Saint Patrick—a large, grey-stone building with about three-dozen large, stained glass windows. And both buildings play key roles in the annual, day-long Saint Patrick’s Day celebration.

The list of events this year was quite long: 5K run/walk, bake sale, gun raffle, roast beef lunch, bounce house, live Irish music, a cake walk and many more.

Myrna Daughtry helped plan the event. She said everyone involved is affiliated with the Shrine of Saint Patrick and that with only about 70 households in the church’s congregation, it’s an all-hands-on-deck approach in the months leading up to the big day.

Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
Stained Glass Windows inside the Shrine of Saint Patrick

“Everyone just pitched in,” said Daughtry. “It’s a team effort. We designated certain aspects: you are in charge of dinner, you are in charge of the silent auction, you are in charge of the bake sale, and we just kind of went down there and everyone just stepped up and just did a wonderful job.”

Daughtry estimates about 500 people ate lunch in the basement of the Shrine.

Father Ron Fields said this year’s event was extra special for him. He said with Saint Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday, he received permission from the Bishop in Jefferson City, Missouri to start the day with a full mass. Normally, Saint Patrick only hosts one mid-week mass.

Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
Father Ron Fields

“We had probably 300 people in church [Sunday] morning,” said Fields. “The church was full so that was very uplifting.”

Fields also ended the festivities with a short church service. Only about 40 people showed up for it—a few visitors and a lot of volunteers.

“We are just grateful to everybody,” said Fields. “If I start naming a lot of names, I am going to leave someone off and somebody will be a little POed, so I am not going to do that. So just a general word of thanks to all.”

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.