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Church Militant had the honor of recently catching up with Patrick McCrystal, a man who's picking up the staff of St. Patrick and chasing the snakes out of modern Ireland.
McCrystal, founder of Men's Irish Rosary rallies and executive director of Human Life International Ireland, cleared his busy schedule for a free-flowing, off-the-cuff phone chat.
From his office in the holy city of Knock, McCrystal talked about his wide-ranging work, including First Saturday Rosary rallies and all-night adoration vigils. He's also busy putting Christ front and center of everyday Irish life through a series of full-size roadside billboards displaying Jesus' Holy Face throughout the Emerald Isle.
The "ardent devotee of the Rosary," as McCrystal describes himself, also finds time to send rousing epistle-like missives encouraging Catholics all over the world to remain steadfast in the faith.
He believes — "knows" is his word — that the fire of St. Patrick is still burning in Catholic Ireland and that his country — and Catholicism in general — is not down for the count, as many globalists would have you believe.
This reporter is not the only one to notice that McCrystal is on fire with the Holy Spirit and makes everyday seem like Pentecost.
The interview began with a prayer initiated by McCrystal.
Invoking Jesus' Precious Blood upon us and on each of our hearts, minds, body, souls, spirits, wealth and intellects and psyches. Blood of Jesus on the air, the waters, the atmosphere, the wind, the ground, the underground in the netherworld. Now we ask you this, dear Lord, to give us thoughts beyond our own thoughts, words beyond our own words and everything we think and do and say and hear and listen to and respond to will be done so through the ministry of the angels, as we say together: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you ... .
Church Militant: For our viewers who may not know about you, please tell them a bit about yourself, Patrick.
Patrick McCrystal: I'm 58 now. Maybe you're aware I was a pharmacist. But I stopped dispensing the contraceptive pill and other abortifacients, for which I lost my job. I was unemployed for three years. I went for 30 interviews. Nobody wanted to employ me. And then the Lord miraculously opened up the doors for me in 1997 to become executive director of Human Life International Ireland (HLI Ireland).
I just celebrated my 25th year [at HLI Ireland], and in those 25 years, God has formed me to be the man that I am today. And over the course of that 25 years, I've prayed a lot about Ireland and for Ireland.
CM: You're also famous for getting the men's Rosary rallies up and running in Ireland. What inspired you to make this happen?
McCrystal: It was a photograph sent to me by a friend, Dr. Owen Gallagher, of several hundred Polish men on their knees and in a large square in Poland. And he sent it to me around Aug. 21, 2021. And I called him and I said, "Owen, I think that's a fantastic photograph. It's very inspirational. I think you and I could do that." And we started talking, and one thing led to another. And lo and behold, on the first Saturday of October, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, we launched the first men's public Rosary in a city called Derry, in Northern Ireland.
And that started us off. And we had about 80 men that first time. And that was a real inspiration because we'd never done anything like this before in Ireland. And it just captured the men's hearts and imaginations, and then it grew and grew. We had 140 then in Belfast the following month. And then out of that, we started spreading all over Ireland. So now it's in something like 22 towns and cities every first Saturday of the month in Ireland — not all of them as big as that, but some of them sizable. But it's capturing the imagination and the hearts of men.
We started during COVID. And you see, part of it was we were giving men something they could actually do because we were all still in bed, hemmed in, a bit oppressed. And here was something that we could do publicly that gave us a mechanism to make a difference.
CM: I've read that you see a connection between Ireland's public Rosary rallies and private family life. Can you say a little more about that?
McCrystal: One incident comes to me quickly now. There was one man who returned to sing the Rosary twice a day as a result of our promotion of the Rosary. And he said it transformed his marriage and family life. And he said that's what happens when the father of the household starts to pray. It changes everything in the household. His wife then subsequently turned away from her New Age practices, and their teenage children came into the Faith and actually became pastoral apologists for the Faith.
Irish Men's Rosary praying in the streets of Strabane today. pic.twitter.com/W8Yla8eXH4— Catholic Arena (@CatholicArena) April 1, 2023
CM: Do you ever think about your work as picking up the thread of St. Patrick, your namesake, or your Rosary rallies as signs that St Patrick's work is still alive in Ireland today?
McCrystal: I absolutely do, because I pray to him every day. We've done several all-night vigils — with two more scheduled for later on this year — where we're calling on St. Patrick and Our Lady and St. Joseph to come, particularly St. Patrick, to come and walk amongst us once again. So we openly and publicly make that call to St. Patrick.
You may remember the dream that the young St. Patrick had. First of all, he was kidnapped, then hauled into slavery. He was put to work as a shepherd for six years on the hill of Slemish — he was not a believer at this time. He managed to escape and make his way back to his family. And he had a dream one night. And in the dream, he saw a man from Ireland say, "Patrick, come and walk amongst us again, holy youth." Patrick saw this dream as his call back to Ireland to tell people about God. It was over 12 years before he returned to Ireland — [as] a bishop sent with the pope's blessing. So now we're calling on St. Patrick to "come and walk amongst us once more."
CM: In addition to the First Saturday Rosaries, you've organized all-night prayer vigils. How often do you have them and where?
McCrystal: They're scheduled twice a year. And I'm planning to do one now in May, and I'll probably do the second one in October, and it'll be an all-night vigil in an oratory in front of the Blessed Sacrament. And I usually do it on Zoom and Facebook. I stream it live so our supporters around the country can either come in person to the chapel or join us from their home.
And on Good Friday there will be 120 public prayer vigils across the nation. In addition, 80 full-sized billboards depicting Our Lord's Holy Face will be appearing come Holy Week all over Ireland. Thousands of people will drive past the billboards every day.
We have just launched a whole new podcast series six weeks ago. In the most recent one, I was interviewed by my colleague [Lisa] O'Hare on "A Pathway Through Global [Confusion]."
We're dedicated to these projects. We mean business. We want God's Kingdom to come on Earth as it is in Heaven. We want it to happen today.
CM: We need such things in Detroit. I'm sure you've heard about our city and its suffering. You know, there are so many good people here, including at Church Militant, working for good. God knows where the work is needed.
McCrystal: And I would suggest to you that the very fact it's suffering is in itself a potent indicator that Detroit is a point of grace on the face of the planet and that the enemy is trying to extinguish the light. He won't succeed.
And I tell you why I say that — because he's trying to do exactly the same in Ireland, and he won't succeed.
Before the abortion referendum of 2018, we heard in Ireland that George Soros saw Ireland as the jewel in their [globalists'] crown. And if they could topple Ireland, you know, they had achieved what they wanted to do. And Ireland did legislate. But here's the thing. Ireland has been such a proclaimer of the gospel and evangelizer of nations and a bringer of civilization across the world that the enemy and his fury is seeking to get his revenge. And that's why I believe Ireland in particular is a particular focus for the globalist powers and all the evil principalities and the powers of evil to try to literally efface Ireland off the face of the planet.
And that's what I think God is trying to say to us when He says the enemy knows what you're capable of and is seeking to trip you up. And people across America and the world think Ireland is sunk. Oh, it's a goner. We don't want to hear about Ireland anymore. So it's lost. It's lost the plot. But that's far from the truth — not the case. It's far from what God is doing. I see Him walking here. I know He still believes in His Church and then the gospel and what He wants, what He is doing in Ireland. I know He is. And that's why I'm so filled with hope. The more depraved things become, the greater time it is to be a Catholic, a Roman Catholic.
CM: Speaking of your hope — you emailed me about a missive you sent to Catholics in America. Could you say a bit about that?
McCrystal: A couple weeks ago, some of the PR people from Human Life International gave me a call and asked, if I had a megaphone, what would I say to Catholics of America? I issued a statement addressed to the Irish diaspora and Catholics of the World:
The Irish will proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world once again! St. Patrick is alive and with us in 2023. You Irish and of Irish descent have a big role to play in bringing the world back to God. IT'S IN YOUR SPIRITUAL GENES. The devil knows what Ireland is capable of and is seeking to trip us up. God's Hand is upon the Irish nation.
God has NOT deserted us! Ireland will be a proclaimer of God's salvation to the ends of the earth. It already is. "A light shines in the darkness and the darkness has NOT overcome it!" It is Ireland's charism to be a missionary people. Repentance and reparation for our sins draws God's mercy and power upon us and the whole world.
Catholics of America, join me and the Irish in repentance, reparation this Lent; then proclamation of God's salvation after Lent to the whole world! Globalist powers of tyranny, slavery and fear are as nought in the Face of the living God! Christ stands in our midst for our liberation.
Stay faithful! Stay in a state of grace! Persevere to the end, for "he who perseveres to the end will be saved!"
CM: Before we have to end our call, what else would you like to say to Catholic men who are seeing the need for Rosary rallies in their respective locations?
McCrystal: Simply it's this: Each one of you is called to be a knight of Our Lady. Saint Louis de Montfort told us that public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer. You are called to a Christ-filled patriarchy in the footsteps of Jesus and St. Joseph to advance the gospel and protect your wives and children and general society.
CM: Let's catch up soon.
McCrystal: All in God's plan. All in God's plan.
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