St. Patrick's Day Smackdown

St. Patrick’s Day--or as it’s known in the Ordo, the Feast of St. Patrick--falls for the first time since 1940 during Holy Week. Not surprisingly, that means no Masses in honor of the patron saint of Ireland (that is, the man born Patricius in Roman Britain) on March 17. A few Catholic bishops have also asked to have the parades on that day moved as well. Predictably this has disappointed, frustrated and even angered some Irish-Catholics. CNN.com has a good piece on the controversy "St. Patrick’s Day Controversy"and tells what’s going on in Columbus, Ohio.... [In] Columbus, the Shamrock Club is going ahead with its March 17 parade, drawing protests from the local bishop. A handful of Irish-American politicians have lined up behind church leaders, breaking with tradition by refusing to march in the parade. In a letter last fall, the Catholic Diocese of Columbus told the Shamrock Club, the group that organizes the parade, that Bishop Frederick Campbell wanted "all observances honoring St. Patrick" -- religious or otherwise -- removed from Holy Week. "It’s not a sin to celebrate your Irish culture," countered Mark Dempsey, the club’s president. "Actually, you’re born Irish first," he said, "and then you’re baptized Catholic." Look, I’m half-Irish (as near as I can make out from our complicated family tree). And I have a great devotion to St. Patrick. But, for Pat’s sakes, it’s Holy Week. You have to wonder what St. Patrick would say to someone who thinks that being Irish is more important than being Catholic. James Martin, S.J.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
10 years 8 months ago
I don't think anyone is laying claim to Patrick being Irish, he was supposedly born in the North of England (not Wales). You don't have to be Irish to be our Patron Saint... The issue seems to be whether any saint should be celebrated with marching bands and festivities during Holy Week. I think that Cardinal Egan is handling it correctly, does Fr. Martin think the Cardinal is wrong?
10 years 8 months ago
You can't be a little bit pregnant or a little bit Catholic. Mr. Dempsey should be concerned about eternity. The Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in Columbus is standing behind our bishop's request and not marching as a unit nor do we allow any of our members who march to wear their AOH baldrics.
10 years 8 months ago
Another reply, I suspect, might be that Patrick himself was Welsh (I believe) first, not Irish. No?

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018