What St. Patrick's Day means to the Fountain City

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's a more than 1,600 year old tradition where believers celebrate Saint Patrick, the Bishop of Ireland they say is responsible for converting all of Ireland to Christianity.

Father Tom Weise, pastor of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Phenix City tells the story.

"He came from a well-to-do family in England, he was kidnapped, taken to Ireland where he was made to look after sheep," Weise explained. "He learned their language very well though and God told him 'there's a ship waiting for you'. He went down to the shore, went to France, became a priest, went to Rome and became a bishop, they sent him to Ireland and he converted the country."

There are parades and services throughout the day in honor of Saint Patrick's legacy, and the honors don't stop at the mass.

Breda Gleeson, from Scruffy Murphy's Irish Pub and Eatery jokes "We like to do our partying after the church and everything."

At Scruffy Murphy's, the celebration brings a boost in business.

Gleeson adds "St. Patrick's Day is our New Year's Eve."

For authentic Irish food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and live music Gleeson says more than 400 people pack the pub to show pride in their heritage. It's a display of pride that Father Tim and Gleeson both say is the root of secular and non-secular celebrations alike.

"For all the people who have left Ireland over the years and have taken up residence in the U.S.A. And other countries," says Gleeson.

And the celebration is starting to kick into high gear here at Scruffy Murphy's. Several bars in uptown Columbus have St. Patrick's day menus and drink specials.

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