Macartan was born in the 4th century into a practicing druid family. He was converted to Christianity by St Patrick and was his primary helper in spreading Christianity westwards from Strangford Lough towards the sea. King Eochaidh in the Kingdom of Airghealla was against the new religion of Christianity and sent his son, Prince Cairbre to warn St Patrick and Macartan off entering his kingdom. When Prince Cairber reached them however, he offered them an apple his mother had given him for his lunch and requested he be baptised. When the Prince introduced Patrick and Macartan to his father, the King raised his sword ready to strike St Patrick. Macartan touched the King’s shoulder and froze it causing the sword to fall. The King was shocked and although he did not accept baptism himself, he allowed the mission to continue. Macartan was ordained as the Bishop of Clogher in 454 in the village of Tyrone. He died in 506 in county Clogher where is believed to be buried. He was known as a strong man as it is said that as St Patrick grew old, Macartan carried him on his back across rivers, fields and through forests.
Prayer St Macartan
As we reflect on St Macartan’s life,
let us pray that we can be faithful
and supportive to those in need of our help.
Teach us to be strong in our convictions
so that just as St Macartan,
we too can go out and talk to people
about Jesus’ love for us.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord,
St Macartan. Pray for us.
Picture is the statue of St. Macartan and the Prince in front of St Macartan Cathedral.