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Father Quinlivan sprinkles some St. Patrick into Stations of the Cross


When Father Bill Quinlivan realized St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday in Lent, he knew something special had to be done to mark the event. He set about writing a set of prayers for the Stations of the Cross based on St. Patrick’s Breastplate, a popular prayer attributed to one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints.

 “I guess when I looked ahead in Lent, and I saw March 17 fell on a Friday, the first thought I had was, well, in South Buffalo it’s going to be a tough sell to have stations across on St. Patrick’s Day,” the pastor of the Catholic Family of South Buffalo said. “But then my second thought was, well not everybody in South Buffalo is Irish, and not everybody actually has something to do on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe some people will come (to church).”

For the first time, he took a real long look at the breastplate of St. Patrick. He was familiar with the “Christ before me, Christ above me, Christ behind me,” which acts as a refrain in some of the musical versions of the breastplate. He found the text, three sections of the prayer from which he could extract 14 pieces and integrate them into the stations.

“I looked at the 14 Stations of the Cross from Jesus condemned to death at the first station to Jesus’ laid in the tomb at the 14th, and I was able to kind of weave in (the prayers). A priest friend of mine in Ireland said, ‘I liked how you stitched in St. Patrick’s prayers.’ So, I guess now I do needlepoint. So, that’s how it came together. There’s a little musical refrain that I wrote between every other station, just for a little music. And that’s in the prayers.”

A booklet for the new prayer is available at www.frbillsings.com.

Father Quinlivan sent copies of the prayers to various people around the country, and a friend in Ireland, Damien Scallon, husband of singer Dana, who called the project, ­“an interesting idea,” then sent a copy to Father Brian Watters at St. Peter Cathedral in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who notified Father Quinlivan that he would be using the prayers at his church  on St. Patrick’s Day.

“I’m tickled green over the thought that people in Ireland are going to be praying theirs the same day that we are here in Buffalo,” Father Quinlivan said.  

The prayers will be recited at St. Martin of Tours Parish, 1140 Abbott Road, Buffalo, at 6:30 p.m. this Friday.


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