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by Lionel E. Deimel


Red Bible    


Bishop and clergy

Rejoice with people and sing

“St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”


This haiku is something of an extension of “Haiku Meditations on the Church Year.” It doesn’t fit there, of course, as ordinations are only performed as needed. The occasion for writing the verse was the ordination to the priesthood of Deacon James McCaskill at St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon, on January 3, 2003. In the Episcopal Church, a bishop always presides at ordinations and all local clergy are invited to attend and participate. Ordinations are generally big parish events.

Although the hymn usually known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” is not a required hymn at ordinations, it is sung more often than not, as it is especially appropriate for such occasions. The words are attributed to St. Patrick and were translated by Cecil Frances Alexander. The hymn begins:


I bind unto myself today

The strong Name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One, and One in Three.1


The poem was written 1/3/2003. Nearly a year later, I wrote another poem (“Martha’s Ordination”) for a St. Paul’s ordination.

1The Hymnal 1982, © 1985 Church Pension Fund.
Music courtesy of The Oremus Hymnal.

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