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St. Patrick’s to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day Dec. 1

Special to The PREVIEW

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will honor St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, at 10 a.m. the first Sunday in Advent, Dec. 1.

St. Andrew’s Day is an important day to American Episcopalians because it was the Scots who consecrated Samuel Seabury the first Episcopal bishop in the United States after the colonies won their independence from Great Britain.

Although the Episcopal Church has its roots in England, the British required its bishops to swear allegiance to the king and, as a new American citizen, Seabury could not comply.

Having an American bishop in the newly established independent colonies was vital to the survival of the Episcopal Church. Without a bishop, no new priests could be consecrated. The church would have died a natural death in America without a succession of bishops and priests to start new parishes.

Since the Scots were not fans of King George, and had no reason to wish to see the church fail in America, they agreed to allow Seabury to be consecrated in Scotland. Their only caveat was that the new American bishop use the Scottish rite in their liturgy, instead of the one used by the British. To this day, the Scottish Rite is included in the Book of Common Prayer used by the Episcopal Church in the United States.

St. Andrew’s Day is the day when, traditionally, people of Scottish decent bring their clan’s tartans to be blessed, or “kirked.”

“Some members of our parish actually do have a family tartan and bring it or wear it on this day,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “Others bring a Scottish plaid, not necessarily related to a particular family connection. It is symbolic of our appreciation to Scotland for their important role in establishing the Episcopal Church in the United States.”

The day will include bagpipes, special prayers and a reception following the morning service that will include some wonderful Scottish fare. St. Patrick’s invites all to come and be a part of this unique service of worship.

St. Patrick’s is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.

For more information, call 731-5801.

This story was posted on December 2, 2013.