PORTLAND — March 17 is the Feast Day of St. Patrick, one of the Church’s great evangelizing saints. It is a day that holds special significance in the Diocese of Portland because St. Patrick, along with St. Jean Baptiste, is a secondary patron of the Diocese of Portland, chosen because French missionaries and, later, French and Irish immigrants brought the Catholic faith to Maine and helped it take root and grow. St. Patrick Church in Newcastle was actually the first church in the country named for St. Patrick and has been in continual use longer than any other Catholic church in New England. Below, you will find a is a list of special celebrations set for Maine in chronological order. As events are added, they will be listed at www.portlanddiocese.org/feast-day-saint-patrick. A reminder that in recognition of St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday during Lent this year, Bishop Robert Deeley is authorizing individuals who choose to eat meat on that day (i.e., a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner) to commute, that is, transfer their abstinence from meat to another day within that same week. Parishioners are able to make use of this commutation on St. Patrick’s Day for any reason, even if they are not necessarily attending a parish event that day.


Maine Celebrations

Saturday, March 11


St. Paul the Apostle Parish will host a St. Patrick’s Day Irish feast on Saturday, March 11, at 5 p.m. in the hall at St. John Church on 217 York Street in Bangor. The event follows the 4 p.m. Mass. The menu will feature corned beef, ham, cabbage, potatoes, and much more, and parishioners will offer musical entertainment. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for kids and will be on sale after Masses on March 4-5, at the parish office through March 10, or by calling Keith at 207-735-4131.

Cape Elizabeth
A St. Patrick’s Day dine-in or takeout lunch is being held at St. Bartholomew Church, located on 8 Two Lights Road in Cape Elizabeth, on Sunday, March 12, from noon to 1 p.m. Each meal will contain corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and Irish soda bread. The cost for each meal is $15. For those who wish to get a takeout meal, arrive between 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Pre-orders can be submitted to Angela Best at (207) 233-4216 or bestn92@gmail.com. Orders for takeout meals are being accepted through March 8. Cash and checks (made payable to St. John Paul II Parish) will be accepted at the time of pickup on March 12.

Friday, March 17


Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate Mass at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street in Portland.


All are welcome to attend a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, prepared by Maria’s Ristorante, in the Guild Hall, part of the cathedral, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is no admission, but donations are encouraged. All proceeds from the traditional Irish dinner will benefit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the Portland Peninsula and Island Parishes’ Family Life Commission. 


St. Mary of the Visitation Parish will hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner in St. Anthony’s Hall on Friday, March 17, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Enjoy your choice of corned beef or turkey with all the fixings and dessert. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $25 for a family of four or more. Takeout is available.


The annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner will be held at St. Patrick Church, located on 380 Academy Hill Road in Newcastle. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and a dinner of corned beef or chicken, cabbage, side dishes, and dessert will be served at 6 p.m. The evening will feature Irish singing and dancing, as well as raffles. Tickets are $17 for adults, $10 for children 17 and under. Takeout orders are available. To purchase tickets, call 207-832-6163.

Saturday, March 18


St. Peter the Fisherman Parish in Machias will host a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner on Saturday, March 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Holy Name of Jesus Parish Hall on 42 Broadway Street in Machias. Doors open at 5 p.m. The menu will feature corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, Guinness chocolate cake, and more. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids (ages 5-12), and free for kids four and under. Takeout dinners are available by visiting https://stpeterthefisherman.me. For more information, call 207-255-3731.

South Berwick

A St. Patrick’s Day Irish dinner will be served after the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, March 18, at Our Lady of the Angels Church on 162 Agamenticus Road in South Berwick. Admission is $10 per person and the menu includes tender corned beef, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, soda bread, dessert, and beverage service. Takeout meals will also be available. For more information or to order a takeout meal, call 207-384-7006.


A St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance will be held on Saturday, March 18, in the hall of St. Mary Church, 236 Eldridge Road, Wells. Enjoy a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, along with ham, while listening to the music of Tom Pomeroy. The evening begins with a social from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The cost is $30 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance with proceeds benefiting Honor Flight Maine and Mission Working Dogs. Please call 207-985-7049 or 207-651-2864. The dinner is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.


The Knights of Columbus will hold their traditional St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner on Saturday, March 18, in the St. Pius X Hall, 492 Ocean Avenue in Portland. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. Two hundred tickets will be available. The price is $25 per dinner and dessert.

Although he is the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain in the fifth century. When he was a teenager, he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. It was during this time, that he discovered his own faith, finding strength through his relationship with God. St. Patrick’s enslavement lasted for six years until he had a dream in which he was told to escape by going by way of the coast. He successfully made it back to Britain, but after a few years, he had a vision in which a man came to him from Ireland and gave him a letter with the heading “The Voice of the Irish.”  In his spiritual autobiography, the Confessio, St. Patrick said that, at that moment, he heard the Irish people crying out, “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

It led Patrick to further his education and study for the priesthood. He would later be ordained a bishop and was appointed as successor to Saint Palladius, the first bishop of Ireland. St. Patrick spent the rest of his life bringing the Good News of the Gospel to the people of Ireland, which was a pagan country at the time. He is believed to have used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, and the shamrock remains associated with the saint and the Trinity to this day.

The prayer “Breastplate” is attributed to St. Patrick. It reads in part: “Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

St. Patrick died on March 17, 461. He is now the patron saint of Ireland and is known as the Apostle of Ireland.