"What is the importance of St. Patrick for our struggle to follow Christ in this 21st century?" Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh asked in a message released today by the Irish bishops' conference.
The archbishop said that although celebrations take place in Ireland and other places on the patron's day, it is more important to honor him by imitating his life and example as a true follower of Jesus Christ.
Archbishop Brady said: "The challenge for all of us is to be consistent and coherent, not just in honoring St. Patrick with our lips and our parades, but with our hearts and lives -- to honor what he really represents by earnestly trying to embody it in our own lives."
To this end, the archbishop suggested reading the writings of St. Patrick, compiled in "Confession of Grace."
Archbishop Brady said that reading the writings of the saint and learning about his life will "nourish and inspire your own life as a disciple of Christ."
"In many ways Patrick is an excellent guide to Easter," added the archbishop.
"Just think of his time on Slemish, faithfully tending the flocks; his fidelity to prayer, both night and day; his attention to the Spirit that spoke to him in the depths of his heart; his appreciation, above all, of the call to bring the good news," he said.
Archbishop Brady added: "Patrick came so that we might know and love Jesus Christ and make real in our lives the love of Christ for others.
"That is the only vision which will create real peace, genuine wholesomeness and lasting prosperity for all on this island. There is no other way."