St. Patrick: The Irish Legend
Set in the fifth century A.D., this two-hour story, filmed entirely in Ireland, is one of adventure, intrigue, miracles and discovery. The screenplay is based upon St. Patrick’s own writings and those of his seventh-century biographers, Muirchu and Tirechan.
Patrick (Patrick Bergin) is born a Briton, the son of nobility. At the age of 16, the spoiled and rebellious lad is kidnapped by Irish raiders and enslaved by a cruel Druid chieftain. While in the depth of his captivity and unceasing despair, Patrick rediscovers his faith in God. Six years later, after many illuminating dreams and visions, a voice guides Patrick’s escape from slavery and his return home.
Back in England, Patrick attempts to return to his former life, but becomes troubled by new visions – the voices of the Irish pleading with him to return and to lead them to God. Patrick believes he now must return to Ireland to serve the people there, free them from enslavement and fear, teach Christianity and convert the Irish. He travels to Gaul to become a priest, prophetically returning to Ireland years later as its first Bishop. But his mission to bring God to the people of Ireland is repeatedly jeopardized by British Bishop Quentin (Malcolm McDowell) who believes that the Irish are warlike heathens, and that Patrick is establishing his own cult church among them. First airs on the Fox Family Network, 3/12/00 (7-9PM ET/PT).
No matter your denomination or attitude towards the Catholic church and its saints, this is a worthwhile production. The core of this man becomes one of faith, trust and a willingness to give his life for his religious convictions. He prays for mercy, becomes devout and teaches men to reverence God and care for others. Although some leaders in the church are portrayed as corrupt and unloving, they serve to remind us that it isn’t our worth that saves us, but God’s mercy and Christ’s sacrifice. Patrick’s first convert wants to follow Christ, because He can fill a man’s heart with strength and forgiveness. I’d say that’s a pretty good message for any film. And although we Protestants have difficulty with some Catholic dogma, it never hurts to learn more about another’s beliefs. And I’m for any film that teaches us to love God and love our fellow man.