St Patrick Catholic Church, St Croix
Some churches are more than just holy sanctuaries; more than hallowed grounds imbued with centuries of tradition. They embody, in effect, the very soul of a place, its people; an enduring way of life. St Patrick Catholic Church is just such a place. If you’ve ever lived in or loved the town of Frederiksted on the west coast of St Croix, then it’s a good bet St. Patrick’s holds a special place in your heart. No matter your beliefs, convictions, or biases, St Patrick Catholic Church always commanded your respect.
This is the place, after all, where the initial bell chimes of freedom rang out in 1848 heralding the end of slavery in Saint Croix. This followed the brave rebellion of enslaved Africans in Frederiksted. Notably, St Patrick’s founding pastor, Father Timothy O’Ryan, played a key role in securing emancipation and calming the conflict.
St Patrick Catholic Church is also the place that many of the best people I’ll ever know first went to school. From its inception in 1846, the church has emphasized education. St. Patrick’s School as it is known today welcomed its first students all the way back in 1866. The pre-k through eighth grade school has produced many of my best friends over several generations.
On the day before I snapped the photo above, I was back at St. Patrick’s. Back to say good-bye to one of those friends. Another old friend gone too soon.
Upon seeing the image, a friend found a nice metaphor in the closed doors and windows. To her, it was like El Señor had closed St Patrick’s to our friend in this life only to open Heaven to him in another.