St MacartanSt. Macartan was born in the 4th century and died in 506 as bishop of Clogher, and is thought to be buried there. Popular tradition holds that he was converted to Christianity by his mentor St. Patrick from common Druidic practices and beliefs. Macartan whose name may mean 'son of Art' or son of the 'Rowen Tree,' helped Patrick who was considerably older to help spread Christianity westwards from Strangford Lough towards the western seaboard.

The story goes that as word reached the Kingdom of Airghealla, the region that is Clogher Diocese today, King Eochaidh, pronounced 'Uckoo', sent his son, Prince Cairbre to warn Patrick and Macartan not to enter his kingdom or attempt to introduce Christianity to his subjects. Just before Cairbre rode off with his troops his mother gave him an apple to enjoy on his journey. On meeting the two Christian missionaries Cairbre rather than offering murderous threats on behalf of his father asked for baptism instead. On the occasion of Cairbre's introduction of Patrick and Macartan to his royal father the King wielded a sword at Patrick. Macartan touched and froze the King's shoulder causing him to drop the deadly weapon. At this magical intervention King Eochaidh, though declining baptism, permitted Patrick and his disciple to continue the mission through his Kingdom. Patrick ordained Macartan as bishop of Clogher in 454, the village in Tyrone, after which the diocese is named.

St. Macartan is called in the Irish language the 'Trean Fhear', the 'Strong Man' from which the North Monaghan popular surname 'Treanor' derives. Patrick was at times so weak and aged that Macartan carried him on his back through rivers, fields and forests.


Macartan, at the dawn of Christianity in Ireland
your faithfulness in supporting St. Patrick
enabled the good news of the Gospel
to be told in our land.
May the Word of God be reborn in us.
May we in our time promote
collaboration among the people of God,
and lend a hand to those in our families,
and parish communities that may be in need.
May the Spirit of God,
sustain and strengthen us in our friendships with one another
on our journey towards the light,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.