Saturday, March 17, 2012

On St Patrick's Day, The Line Continues... And Rebuilding Beckons

On this happiest of saints-days -- in many ways, the mother-feast of American Catholicism given the immense, heroic contribution of its Irish daughters and sons over the last two centuries -- to one and all on these shores, i mháthair Éirinn, or wherever else, Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

If there's a Stateside place to be for St Patrick's Day, it's New York, of course, as the nation's most iconic (and visited) house of worship marks its patronal feast, the diaspora's oldest parade dedicated to the Apostle of Ireland steps off for the 251st time (livestream from 11am Eastern) and, this year, the celebration's upped even more following the elevation of the city's eighth cardinal -- a figure who, it could be said, embodies his ancestry perhaps more than any we've seen in a long time.

Ergo, for all that, and as a Gotham priest begins to make a very different impact on the Sod itself as the new Apostolic Nuncio to Dublin, here's the final blessing and close of this morning's feast-day Mass on Fifth Avenue, capped by the traditional singing of the National Anthems of Ireland and these States:

Prior to the liturgy -- as, among others, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg donned green construction hats on its steps -- Cardinal Tim Dolan announced the kickoff of a three-year, $177 million stem-to-stern restoration of St Patrick's Cathedral, set to begin later this spring.

So far, only $45 million of the project's cost has been raised, leading the new cardinal to term his seat in interviews as "an icon of a Church that needs revival, restoration and repair."

Built over a onetime cemetery and dedicated in 1879, the Midtown landmark saw its last major structural maintenance in the mid-1970s.