S.P.C Jaffna

History of St. Patrick's Day

The auspicious day of March 17th, celebrated worldwide as St. Patrick’s Day marks the death of the patron saint of Ireland and the universal baptization of Ireland. This day commemorates the death of this great figure, which has many legends revolving around him. Being garbed in green attire is very much true to the spirit of the festival for the color green is in remembrance of the Emerald Isle, Ireland.


The day named after the saint commonly hailed as St. Patrick is not the name he was born with but rather a name he was christened to. His actual name was Maewyn Succat who was kidnapped from the native land of Britain by a band of pirates and then sold into slavery in Ireland. In Ireland, he engaged himself in the occupation of a shepherd and took solace in religion. After six long years of slavery, he escaped to the northern coast of Gaul where his life underwent a revolutionary change. He was christened as Patrick, studied in a monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxere for twelve long years and then soon came to believe that it was his duty to convert the pagans of Ireland to Christianity. He arrived in Ireland at the age of sixty and with his amiable personality won many coverts too.


Many interesting customs came to be associated with this day. Such as the custom of wearing shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day has come down from the time St. Patrick used this three-leafed clover to explain the concept of Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. Patrick even took to extensive traveling throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries and setting up schools and churches to aid in converting the Irish country to Christianity. Patrick’s mission in Ireland lasted for as long as thirty years, post which he retired to County Down and eventually died on March 17th in 461 A.D. That day has been commemorated ever since as St. Patrick’s Day. However, the first St. Patrick’s Day was not celebrated in Ireland but in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1737. Thus we find that St. Patrick though not an Irish by birth has evolved into a patron saint of Ireland and eventually into an integral part of Irish heritage through his selfless service across Ireland in 5th century. With the passage of time, this Catholic holiday soon took shape of a secular holiday and celebrated with as much vigor in the rest of the world as in Ireland.


The history of this holy day richly loaded with stories of a simple man’s fervent effort to christen a whole nation is worth our veneration. This day with its share of fun and its religious nuances has many a soul swaying to the tune of this secular holiday each year.


Furnished By: John Edirimanasinghe


S.P.C. Norway

St. Patrick’s college, Jaffna

Old Boys Association Bergen, Norway,

Org.nr. 994 915 975

Account no:36246214187



St.Patrick’s College Jaffna, SriLanka



St.Patrick’s College, a leading Catholic school in the Island, was established in 1850 as the “Jaffna Catholic English School” by Monsignor Orazio Bettacchini. Later, with the reception of a grant from the Government in 1851, it came to be called as the “Jaffna Boys’ Seminary”. Its first Principal was Mr. Patrick Foy, an Irishman. In some sense, our college is older than some modern day countries like Canada and Australia!

St.Patrick’s, from its very inception, pioneered many educational reforms and developments. With the steady increase of students the curriculum was expanded and steps were taken to maintain high standards. In 1881 the school was registered as a complete High School and was formally christened as St.Patrick’s College on the 10th of January 1881.

In 1889 vocational subjects were introduced and technical subjects in 1901. New classrooms and a student hostel was built in 1887. The Old Boys’ Association was formed and it played a vital role in the development of the school under the guidance of Revd.Fr.Matthews.


The efforts of the Rectors and staff bore rich harvest from the very beginning. London Matriculation Examination results for the years 1932 to 1935 and 1937 were the best results of all the schools in the entire British Empire. With the government’s ‘Take over of schools” in 1961, St.Patrick’s opted to be a Private non-fee levying school. When the missionaries priests left the shores of Sri Lanka, native sons nurtured by the alma mater stepped up to challenge and continue to provide the leadership and pastoral care.


In the past, when conditions in the island permitted, the college had within its portals, students of all races and religions from all parts of the country. Though managed by the Catholic Church, students of other religious persuasions are equally well cared for. The College was so popular that there was a special hostel for non-Catholic students. Ample opportunities are still afforded to the poorer children in the neighbourhood.


Character formation in the students is of utmost concern and the loftiest ideals in life are inculcated in the minds of the students. Sports and other co-curricular activities are encouraged.


In contemporary times our college has not only survived the ‘takeover of schools’, financial crisis, civil war and natural disasters and provided the pastoral care to the young men but also played its part in the wider community by providing shelter and assistance to the displaced during the time of need.


Fide et labore – faith and hard work by all Patricians will see St.Patrick’s continuing to strive against all odds to serve the nation’s future youngsters as she has done during her illustrious past.



யாழ் சம்பத்தரிசியார் கல்லூரி


யாழ் சம்பத்தரிசியார் கல்லூரி, (St.Patrick’s College) இலங்கையில் உள்ள முன்னணிக் கத்தோலிக்கப் பாடசாலைகளுள் ஒன்று. ஒன்றரை நூற்றாண்டுகளுக்கு மேல் பழமை வாய்ந்த இப் பாடசாலை 1850 ஆம் ஆண்டில், யாழ்ப்பாணம் கத்தோலிக்க ஆங்கிலப் பாடசாலை (Jaffna Catholic English School) என்னும் பெயரில் தொடங்கப்பட்டது. மொன்சைனர் ஒராசியோ பெட்டாச்சினி (Monsignor Orazio Bettacchini) என்பவர் இதனை நிறுவினார். அடுத்த ஆண்டில் இதன் பெயர் யாழ்ப்பாணம் ஆண்கள் செமினரி (Jaffna Boys’ Seminary) ஆனது. 1881 ஆம ஆண்டில் இது முழு அளவிலான உயர்தரப் பாடசாலையாகப் பதிவு செய்யப்படதுடன், இதன் பெயர் சம்பத்தரிசியார் கல்லூரி என மாற்றப்பட்டது. 1961 ஆம் ஆண்டில் இலங்கையிலுள்ள பாடசாலைகள் அனைத்தும் அரசுடமை ஆக்கப்பட்டபோது, சமய நிறுவனங்களுக்குக் கிடைத்த வாய்ப்பைப் பயன்படுத்தி இப் பாடசாலையை கட்டணம் அறவிடாத தனியார் பாடசாலையாகவே பேணுவதென முடிவு செய்யப்பட்டது.



ஆண்களுக்கான இப் பாடசாலையைக் கத்தோலிக்க திருச்சபையே நடத்தி வந்தாலும் பல்வேறு சமயங்களைச் சேர்ந்த மாணவர்களும் இங்கே கல்வி கற்கின்றனர். 1887 ஆம் ஆண்டு முதலே இது விடுதியுடன் கூடிய பாடசாலையாக இயங்கி வருவதால் நாட்டின் பல பாகங்களில் இருந்தும் மாணவர்கள் இங்கு தங்கிப் படித்தனர்.



ST. Patrick`s Collige

Jaffna, SriLanka

  • 1850-58 Patrick Foy
  • 1859-61 Rev. Bro. John Joseph Brown
  • 1862-70 Rev. Bro. Patrick Joseph Conway
  • 1870 Rev. Bro. Michael A. Murphy
  • 1870-74 Rev. Bro. ( Fr.) Patrick O Flanagan
  • 1874-75 T. W. McMahan
  • 1875-80 Rev. Bro. ( Fr.) Patrick O Flanagan
  • 1880-83 Rev. Bro. (Fr.) J. A. R. Smythe
  • 1883-85 Rev. Fr. Charles H. Lytton
  • 1885-88 Rev. Fr. Jules Collin
  • 1888-89 Rev. Fr. M. Dubreuil
  • 1889-01 Rev. Fr. Patrick Dunne
  • 1901-02 Rev. Fr. Jules Collin
  • 1902-05 Rev. Fr. Charles A. Beaud
  • 1905-21 Rev. Fr. Charles S. Matthews
  • 1921-24 Rev. Fr. John A. Guyomar
  • 1924-36 Rev. Fr. Charles S. Matthews
  • 1936-54 Rev. Fr. Timothy M. F. Long
  • 1954-60 Rev. Fr. S. N. Arulnesan
  • 1960-66 Rev. Fr. P. J. Jeevaratnam
  • 1966-76 Rev. Fr. T. A. J. Mathuranayagam
  • 1976-79 Rev. Fr. John A. Francis
  • 1979-92 Rev. Fr. G. A.Michael (Francis) Joseph
  • 1992-02 Rev. Fr. A. I. Bernard
  • 2002-07 Rev. Fr. Dr. Justin Gnanapragasam
  • 2008- Rev. Fr. Jero Selvanayagam



Alma Mater blest sanctum of learning

Where the mind is adorned with rich lore

And each tutored faculty’s yearning

Is sated and taught to seek more.


Alma Mater fond nurse of my childhood

So indulgent yet prudently firm

Thy affection and smile cheer my boyhood

And Foster each heavenly germ.


Alma Mater! Whose love brooks no fetter

To the heart thou doth culture with toil

Tis that science and art may thrive better

When rooted in virginal soil.


Alma Mater! When tired and faint-hearted

In our minds mist and sorrow arise

This glad secret your lips then impart

The cross is both light and repose


Alma Mater! When launched on life’s ocean

Oft’ temptation must needs try thy child

Oh! Where all tends to stifle devotion

Pray, Mother, lest I be defiled.


Alma Mater! Handmaid of Saint Patrick

May thy mission like his soon be crowned

And our Lanka, by Faith’s spark electric

Chaste, learned like Erin be found.



1 ) Design – In the top quarter on the right is an OPEN BOOK with he inscription: “Ite et docete” on a field of gold. Symbolism– The Open Book, with the divine commission to “go and teach” represents Holy Bible, and Faith, which is the foundation of a sound catholic training.


2 ) Design – In the bottom quarter on the right are three golden BEES on a field of crimson. Symbolism – The bees are clearly suggestive of Laour, which is the vehicle of success in every walk and station of life.


3 ) Design – In the top quarter on the left is a golden LION, on a field of crimson. Symbolism – The lion represents the Government of the country. The Lion was the symbol of the British Crown.


4 ) Design – In the bottom quarter on the left is a LOTUS on a field of gold. Symbolism – The Lotus represents the dear country of ours whose welfare it is our duty to promote.


5 ) Design – In each arm of the inter adjacent cross is a silver SHAMROCK on a field of green. Symbolism – The Shamrock represents St. Patrick the Apostle of Ireland and our heavenly Patron whose fostering are and powerful intercession are needed for the realization of our objectives.


6 ) Design – In the central shield is the COAT OF ARMS of the congregation OF THE OBLATES OF MARY IMMCULATE on a field of azure which is Mary’s own colour. Symbolism – The Central Shield represents the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for what we are.


7 ) Design – Below the main shield, surrounding it is a WREATH consisting of : (i) laurels on the right (ii) shamrocks on the left (iii) a musical instrument in the middle inclining towards the right. Symbolism – (i) The Laurels in the Wreath represent the Temporal Rewards, our successes and attainments in this world. (ii) The Shamrocks in the Wreath represent the Eternal Rewards, our heavenly vision of the Triune God. (iii) The Musical Instrument represents the Harmony, andreminds us that every Earthly joy sought after by us should be in perfect accord with our future happiness in Heaven.


8 ) Design – Above he main shield is a Scroll on which is written the COLLEGE MOTTO, “Fide et Labore”. Symbolism– The College Motto reminds us that Faith is the means by which the Patricians must adhere to the Christian ideals and principles of education, and that Labour is the means by which these principles are put in practice in their daily life.