I read the Great Bend Tribune article: “Otis-Bison boys qualify for 1-A state basketball” (posted online March 4). Having ancestors and relatives from both Olmitz and Otis, I congratulate the team on their achievement and will be rooting for them. March is the month for “sports” but it is also a month to remember a special St. Patrick who is highly regarded among many in Barton County. Even a Catholic church in Great Bend is dedicated to him.
St. Patrick’s Day is a fun day that makes the month of March enjoyable, not merely on March 17. Few people realize that St. Patrick was actually a real man and a real “Saint” in the Roman Catholic Church. Furthermore, they are astonished to learn that he was born in modern-day England, while it was under British rule. He wore the mitre (pointed hat) of a bishop and was sent on a mission to convert Ireland to Christianity.
It is believed he lived in the latter part of the fifth century, yet his influence exists to this day. He reputedly “drove the snakes out of Ireland.” A common punch-line to that is “All snakes, except the two-legged variety.” The National Museum of Ireland has “Saint Patrick’s Bell” first noted in the book the Annals of Ulster in the year 552. What is interesting to me, it has the maker’s mark: “U INMAINEN” (which translates to “Noonan” who was a noted metalworker of the times. The day March 17 was chosen as his Feast Day, since it is believed he died on that day. It is one day where everybody can be Irish for a day. Let’s remember the Saint.
James A. Marples